Let’s agree on something. This Sous Vide thing is pretty upscale. It delivers accurately, perfectly and deliciously cooked food every time. The soft texture of a piece of fresh fish cooked at 50º C for 30 minutes is sublime. The meaty taste and consistent ‘doneness’ of a nice steak given 53º C for between 1 and 2 hours will not be experienced by everyone. I have now, unwittingly become part of a distinguished, elite echelon of international gourmets.
Side note on echelons and gourmets: For those of you not in the know, echelons are always elite and gourmets always international. That’s just how it is.
But and however, my parents brought this boy up with his feet on the ground. I do not slip easily into the rarefied air occupied by the elite echelons and the aeroplanes transporting the gourmets. I need to pay heed to the majority. I must not forget the “Boil-in-the-bag” brigade. Those who really don’t understand this simple, effective cooking method. I feel I need to keep it real. That’s why I bring you Sous Vide Steak and Chips. An upscale approach to a crowd pleasing standard.
The ingredients list (for the more esteemed and sous vide owning amongst you) is short.
- 2 striploin steaks.
- 5 or 6 potatoes cut into chips
- Black pepper
- A glass of Marsala wine
Season the steaks with the pepper.
Press the thyme into the flesh so it holds while you vacuum seal it into a plastic bag.
Side note on really good beef: It helps to use great Irish ‘grass fed’ beef. In my innocence, I though all beef was fed on grass. I now understand that in some markets (Yes, I mean you America) most cattle wouldn’t know grass if they tasted it.
Place the bag (or have your man place the bag, if you are that eminent) into a sous vide bath at 53º for two hours.
The chips / French fries / freedom fries need to be cooked twice. This involves soaking them in water to remove starch, drying them in a cloth and first cooking them in 160º C vegetable or sunflower oil for 5 minutes. They can then be drained on newspaper / kitchen paper / cotton cloths before being refried at 190º C until crispy and brown. Time the second frying to coincide with the cooking of the steak.
When the steaks are cooked (After 2 hours, that is. They will not look cooked.), remove them from the bag, reserving the liquid.
Place the reserved liquids into a pan and add the Marsala.
Reduce by about half and strain into a very small (in an exclusive sort of way) jug. While this is going on, brown the steaks on a very, very hot skillet. This takes less time to do than it takes to type this sentence.
Side note on upscaleness: The upscale bit comes from getting an exact 35º angle on the lattice-work on the steak. In truly exclusive restaurants, chefs are beaten with egg whisks and small saucepans if they fail to hit this exact angle. You heard it here first.
Serve it with the slightly down-market chips and the very upscale, upmarket and delicious Marsala sauce.
Wine paring: It’s important, when cooking at the very apex of the market, to recommend a wine of which most people will never have heard. Why break with tradition? We enjoyed a glass of Chateau Le Loup, 2010 with and after the meal.
If I told you what it cost, it might tarnish the gold-plated and prestige appearance of the lovely wine.
That’s a butter knife I used to cut the steak. It really was incredibly tender and very, very flavourful. My dalliance with the world of upscale cooking may yet turn into a love affair. I wonder could I cook a beef burger sous vide? Or, would that be going too far?