I am so excited to publish this post! My first experiment with the Anova sous-vide gadget, actually if I must be completely honest, it was the second experiment, the first shall remain unblogged. It involved soft-boiled eggs, and a garbage disposal. Pretty sad combination. But, I did not let that bring me down, next day I rolled up my sleeves, and went to work on a recipe for pork loin that I found on SVKitchen: Sous-vide Recipes and Techniques for the Home Cook.
SWEET AND SPICY ASIAN PORK LOIN
(slightly modified from this recipe)
2 stalks lemongrass, 3 outer layers and top third removed and discarded, thinly sliced
Heat the water bath to 132°F (56°C).
In a bowl large enough to accommodate the pork, combine the lemongrass, soy sauce, brown sugar, chili-garlic sauce, ginger, five-spice, salt, and pepper. Add the pork and toss everything together to coat evenly. Divide the pork between two large zip lock food bags and seal using the water displacement method.
Cook for 6 hours.
Carefully open the food bags and serve the pork over cooked rice garnished with the sliced scallions.
to print the recipe, click here
In this photo, you see the Anova gadget attached to the large pan, and the water heating nicely to the correct temperature. After mixing the pieces of meat with the marinade, two large Ziplock bags are sealed using the water displacement method. I lowered the bag in a bowl of warm water (that makes the plastic more pliable and facilitates removing all air bubbles). The last photo shows the two bags sealed and ready to dive into the water-bath. Easy as pie!
I set the timer for 6 hours, but due to important commitments such as helping Phil mow the front lawn & folding laundry, time was extended to 6 hours and 45 minutes. I hoped it would not be a problem. It wasn’t. In fact, it confirmed one of the advantages of sous–vide cooking: once the temperature is reached and properly equilibrated through the meat, you can take your time. Within limits, of course, there will be a change in texture if you push it too far. But this too far becomes a matter of hours, not minutes. Sweet!
Here is a close up of the meat as you bite into it… moist and tender all the way through!
Final comments: SVKitchen is a fantastic source of recipes and tips for sous-vide cooking, I have several recipes already bookmarked. The site is not getting updates anymore which is kind of sad, but you can still find a ton of stuff and they are also very helpful by email.
One of the things I learned right away from sous-vide cooking is: take notes. Small variations in temperature will change the result of a recipe, and some can be pretty tricky to nail. Soft-boiled eggs are one classic example. Apparently, once you hit the jackpot with the method that pleases you, it will be quite reproducible. I am not there yet, but slowly improving. A very informative and fun article dealing exclusively with soft-boiled eggs can be found here.
Another important point in sous-vide is that for the most part the food will not look appetizing once it’s cooked. The sous-vide obviously doesn’t brown the food and doesn’t reduce a liquid. Normally you will need to do a final stove-top, oven, or grill step to bring the dish to completion. Still, the idea that you can prepare your food in advance and wrap it up in minutes at dinner is quite attractive for those who work full days. But more important than that is the ability to have perfectly cooked seafood, poultry to work with. Goodbye, tough scallops & shrimp… goodbye dried up chicken breasts & pork loin…
So far, I am really having fun with this new toy. It is compact, can be stored away in a shelf when not in use, and I found an even better spot to put it in action: the countertop in our laundry room, adjacent to the kitchen. There Anova enjoys the company of the vacuum sealer, and on the left of the picture we have a sink, so it’s all quite functional.
I hope you enjoyed this first post on sous-vide, stay tuned for new adventures on Anova Land…
ONE YEAR AGO: Farewell to a Bewitching Kitchen
TWO YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen. June 2012
THREE YEARS AGO: Goodbye L.A.
FOUR YEARS AGO: 7-6-5 Pork Tenderloin