February 2010 Archives

Roast Beef (like Mom makes, sort of)

beef1.jpgMom is famous for, among other things, her thinly sliced roast beef with gravy. The actual recipe is made from a eye round roast prepared the normal way in the oven.

This time I used a slightly different preparation using what was labeled "bottom rotisserie roast." I'm not really sure what it is because that isn't a beef primal or sub-primal. I think it might have been a bottom round roast.

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Preheat the sous vide machine to 133°F.

Remove any excess fat and silverskin from the roast. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Lightly coat in olive oil and put in a roasting pan.

Roast for 10 minutes at 400°F, then flip over and roast the other side for 10 minutes.
beef2.jpgRemove from the roasting pan and vacuum seal.

Sous vide for 3 hours at 133°F for medium-rare.

Remove from the sous vide machine. Reserve the liquid from the cooking bag and let the meat rest for at least a half hour before slicing.

Heat the liquid from the cooking bag. Add a slurry of all-purpose flour and water to make gravy. Add pepper. Add soy sauce to the gravy for salt and color.
beef3.jpg The 2.28 lb. roast was fairly lean, and on sale for $ 8.64 it was quite a deal! It made four 6 oz. servings of sliced roast beef and gravy, two 3 oz. servings for roast beef sandwich, and two 2 oz. servings for stir fry. Even though it was an inexpensive cut of beef, the three hour trip through the sous vide made it tender, but, because of the very low heat, still let it come out moist and medium rare!

Pork chop (sous vide)

I decided to try a slightly different preparation that's a variation on my regular oven roasted pork. I really like the sous vide preparation because the end result is a very tender and moist pork chop.

3 lb. center cut pork roast, bone-in
Preheat the sous vide machine to 160°F.

Remove the fat and silverskin from the top of the roast. Divide into individual pork chops. The end result should be sort of like this:
pork3.jpg several pork loin chops - the main meal
large pieces of meat on the wrong size of the fat layer, etc. - save for stir fry
random bits of meat and the bone that formerly held everything together - stock
a small pile of fat and silverskin - discard

Season the chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and vacuum seal.
pork4.jpgSous vide for 2 hours at 160°F.

The minimum temperature to kill trichinosis is 140°F. Some guides recommend 180°F for pork, but that will tend to dry it out. With the sous vide you don't have to worry about undercooked center parts, so I just cooked to 160°F as a reasonable compromise.

Take the smaller meaty bits, including the pieces trimmed from between the end of the pork chop bones, and the bone and add to a small pot with 18 oz. of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, skim off any foam, and simmer for 2 hours. This will make a nice pork stock that can be used in soups and sauces.

When done, remove the pork from the sous vide machine. Drain the bag and discard the liquid.

Heat a sauté pan over high heat. Add a little olive oil. Briefly sear the pork chops, a few minutes on each side. They're fully cooked; this step just browns the outside nicely and helps make the sauce.
pork5.jpgRemove the pork chops from the sauté pan. Deglaze the pan with about 4 oz. pork stock. Reduce, then add a little soy sauce. Serve as the jus for the pork chops.

When all is said and done, I ended up with one meal and pile of food for the freezer including 3 more pork chops, stir fry meat (cooked and pre-cut, ready to throw into a stir-fry), 8 oz. pork stock, and a side of pork jus.
pork6.jpgI also made a version of this recipe using a boneless 7-rib pork roast.

When I was writing this description I Googled "jus lié" to make sure I was using jus vs. jus lié correctly. I got the answer and also the lyrics to "I jus' lie" from the band Snot.

Thai chicken and vegetable stir fry

chicken3.jpgThis was just a quick meal thrown together with stuff from my refrigerator:

Green peppers

Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and the onions and cook for a few minutes.

Add the green peppers and cook for a few more minutes.

The chicken was pre-cooked, cut up, and frozen from my chicken sous vide. All I had to do was defrost it and throw it in the sauté pan.
Add the tomatoes.

Reduce the heat and add a tablespoon of Thai chili-garlic sauce and a little soy sauce.


Chicken sous vide

I decided to try making a "roasted" chicken in the sous vide machine. Well, it's not at all roasted, but it is unbelievably moist and tender, and works quite well. I'm thinking of trying this with a turkey.

Break a small (4.5 pound) roasting chicken down into its components. The wings and drumettes  can be reserved for another recipe. I freeze them until I get enough to make Buffalo chicken wings.

Separate and remove the skin from the breasts, thighs, and drumsticks. For certain other recipes, like the sous vide then fried chicken, the skin can be left on, but it's not really necessary in this recipe.

Mix a brine of:

16 oz. cold water (1 pint)
1.2 oz. Kosher salt (1/4 cup)
2.0 oz. granulated sugar (1/4 cup)

Package the chicken and brine in two bags for vacuum sealing. Here's the tricky part: it's trivial with a commercial-style chamber vacuum sealer, and nearly impossible with an external vacuum sealer like the FoodSaver. With an external vacuum sealer you'll probably just want to squeeze out as much air as possible and then seal the bag shut without vacuum, otherwise you'll vacuum all of the brine out the bag.

Brine the chicken in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

Meanwhile, add the carcass of the chicken to a large pot. Dice an onion, carrot, and two stalks of celery and add to the pot. Add 48 oz. water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 3 hours. Strain off the chicken and vegetables. Reserve the large chunks of white meat for soup. Allow to cool.

Heat the sous vide machine to 160°F.

Remove the brined chicken from the refrigerator. Drain the bags, discarding the brine, and dry the chicken with a paper towel. Season the chicken with a little garlic powder, sage, and pepper. Since it was brined there's no need for additional salt. Fresh garlic can be used, but sometimes it can be overpowering in the sous vide machine, so I just used garlic powder. Seal the chicken in new vacuum bags.

Sous vide for 1.5 hours. Remove and let rest for a half hour.

Meanwhile, heat butter and flour in a sauté pan to make roux. Add some of the chicken broth to make gravy.

Here's one breast of chicken, sliced and served:

And here's everything else all prepared for freezing. Not bad for one little chicken!


DSC_0005.jpgNot everything here is fancy: black bean, taco-seasoned beef, scallion, and cheddar cheese nachos, topped with homemade guacamole.

English Muffins and Hamburger Buns

DSC_0001.jpgI liked the wheat and oat bread recipe so much in loaf bread and dinner rolls I decided to try making it into two other form factors: English muffins and hamburger buns!

Prepare a recipe of the wheat and oat bread dough up to the first proofing stage.
DSC_0005.jpgDivide the dough into 6 3.0 oz. portions for hamburger buns and 6 2.8 oz. portions for English muffins. Form the dough into boules (balls) then flatten them slightly (English muffins, in particular) to encourage the proper shape.

For hamburger buns, put the dough directly on a silpat on a half sheet baking pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
DSC_0007.jpgFor English muffins, put a sheet of parchment paper on a half sheet baking pan, spritz with spray oil, sprinkle corn meal on the parchment, place the dough balls on the parchment, a few inches apart, then sprinkle the tops with more cornmeal. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
DSC_0009.jpgProof for 90 minutes.

Preheat a griddle to 350°F. Also preheat the oven to 350°F.

Spritz the grill with oil. Transfer the balls of English muffin dough to the griddle, at least an inch apart. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, flip, and cook the other side for 5 to 8 minutes. You may need to lightly flatten the muffins so they're more English muffin shape as they cook.
DSC_0013.jpgRemove the parchment from the sheet pan and put the partially cooked English muffins on the sheet pan and bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the English muffins from the baking sheet, and cool on a wire rack.
DSC_0018.jpgengmuffin.jpgIncrease the oven temperature to 400°F.

For hamburger buns, brush the tops of the buns with an egg wash, then sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
DSC_0017.jpg Bake to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the buns from the baking sheet, and cool on a wire rack.

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