I have a new toy. It is a sous vide immersion circulator slow cooker. And I am having so much fun!
What is a sous vide immersion circulator? It is a special kitchen appliance that regulates water to an exact temperature for a set amount of time. The water is preheated in a large pot or container. The selected food is placed in a plastic bag and submerged to press the air out of the bag (or vacuum sealed if you have such a machine…and I do!) so the meat or food being cooked under water. The food is cooked in the circulating hot water bath for the specific time. The reason for the success of this method of cooking is that the temperature will never go higher than set. Afterward, a quick sear on a hot pan or grill is recommended for extra flavor and texture, since this method of cooking will not brown the meat.
In the two weeks that I’ve had this new gadget I have sous vide six different items that were all purchased at my favorite Collingswood Farmers’ Market. And all were great successes!
The first food sous vide was poached eggs. The water container was filled ( a 12 quart clear plastic food storage container…. stainless steel pots get very hot) to the fill line on the circulator and the temperature was set to 167 degrees Fahrenheit. I wanted a poached egg with the white and yolk more solid than loose liquid. Now the directions I read said to drop the egg into the water. I did not. All I could imagine was the shell cracking and my brand new machine sucking up the egg that escaped into the water and fouling the motor. So two eggs in a zippered food grade plastic freezer bag and were put it into the circulating water and then clipped to the side of the container. 13 minutes later I had two perfect poached eggs in their shell. A little hot to handle but so worth it!
Poached egg >167 degrees Fahrenheit for 13 minutes.
Potatoes…yes, potatoes. The potatoes were scrubbed but not peeled and cut into similar sized pieces for even cooking. The water temperature was set to 194 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature hit 194 degrees the bags of potatoes were submerged, sealed, clipped to the side, and left them in the water for one hour. In one hour the bags of potatoes were cooked. Some melted butter and olive oil in a hot frying pan produced lovely, crispy potatoes. Sprinkled with a little salt and made them the perfect side to a burger. HINT: At the start the potatoes wouldn’t sink…they floated. I found this hint that really worked….drop a couple of heavy stainless steel spoons into the bottom of the bag of potatoes. The weight of the spoons keeps them under the circulating water.
Potatoes > 194 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hours.
Did someone say burger? Patties of ground beef that are at least 1/3 of a pound were put in bags and submerged in water that has been heated to 137 degrees Fahrenheit and left there for 1 hour. Perfectly medium rare. Out of the sous vide, the burgers were fried in a hot skillet for one minute on the first side, then flipped, and topped with American cheese. Delicious!
1/3 of a pound beef burgers (medium well) > 137 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour
Burgers and fried potatoes are easy and homey. But husband and I were aiming for more sophisticated dinners. Three nights in a row we were delighted with our meals.
First we did boneless pork chops. The water was heated to 145 degrees Fahrenheit and the chops were bagged with some fresh thyme and put in the circulating water for one hour. A quick sauce of some mushrooms fried in butter and finished with a teaspoon of mustard and about 1/4 cup of cream finished the dish. Wow!
1 inch thick boneless pork chops > 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour
Next we did beef filet mignon. I put a dot of butter (grass fed meat loves butter…oil, not so much) and some salt with the beef. I Closed the bag (making sure there was no air to keep it above the water), and submerged the bags for 1 hour at 136 degrees Fahrenheit. I finished the beef by searing it in a very hot pan for 1 minute per side. Fork tender and delicious!
1 to 1 1/2 inch thick beef filet mignon (medium rare) > 136 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour
Finally. It was boneless chicken cutlet time. We all love them and we all know they can so easily be overcooked and dry. Not so when you sous vide. I buy my chicken cutlets from Hillacres Pride (as I did all of the meat discussed in this post…and the eggs). The meat comes frozen and sealed in a bag. I simply heated the water in the container to 146 degrees Fahrenheit), took the label off the pouch, and dropped the chicken into the water. The bag was clipped to the side of the plastic container and cooked for 2 hours. Because I did not remove the chicken from the plastic bag the cutlet was about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick thus the need for a two hour cook. When I pound the chicken to an even 1/2 to 1 inch thickness, one hour in the water is enough.
1 1/2 inch thick boneless chicken breast > 146 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours. (one hour if cutlets are pounded to an inch or less)
All of the meats were thawed. All of the meats were bagged in food safe freezer bags with the air pressed out of them. All of the bags were submerged for a specific time in specific temperature water. All of the bags were clipped to the side of the water container. And all of the meat was cooked properly, hot, moist, and delicious!
My sous vide immersion circulator slow cooker is the best thing I’ve purchased for my kitchen in a long time.
In the words of Ferris Bueller….
” If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up”.
All foods mentioned in the post were purchased at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market in Collingswood NJ.
Potatoes = Savoie Organic Farm
Eggs, beef burgers, beef filet mignon, boneless chicken breast cutlets, boneless pork chops. = Hillacres Pride