“57º for 48 Hours. They will be delicious.” Or, so came the casual (too casual as it turned out), throw-away remark. I gave a good bit of thought to what would go nicely with the Beef Shins Sous Vide, over the two days and nights the dinner was cooking. They were going to be epic. I would serve them with a parsnip purée. Beef and parsnip is a match made in heaven. I would make a delicious thick gravy from the bag juices. This would tie everything together perfectly.
I cooked the shins for the Wife and myself. There is enough meat there to feed our extended family (and yours too by all accounts). That’s not the point of the story. In fact, for most sous vide posts, one could just take a ‘before’ and ‘after’ photo and mention the temperature and time. The sous viders amongst ye would have all they need to know. Hot debate would ensue. “I would have gone 56º for 52 hours” would come a reply. “Madness. 61º for 42 is the only way.” etc, etc…. The rest of you would still think we are insane to cook dinner over two to three days, wrapped in a plastic bag, simmering in a basin of tepid water.
However, I digress. The point of this little tale is to confess to my slipping into the realms of the trainspotter. Not the drug addled, foul-mouthed Scottish kind. Rather the anorak, notebook and excitement, as the 4:15 from Dun Laoghaire whistles through the station, bang on time. More of that later. As you can see in the pictures, the first thing I did was to brown the beef shins on both sides.
I then seasoned and vacuum sealed them.
Then as I said above, into the water bath at 57ºC for 48 hours.
When I took them out, I poured the bag juices into a pan.
I then added a half tablespoon of corn flour diluted in 2 tablespoons of water. This is a real nerdlinger of a trick given to me by Stefan over at Stefangourmet.com – a sous vide nerd, if ever there was one.
Sous Vide Nerd Interlude: The cornflour is a neat trick that makes getting a punchy sous vide gravy very easy. The collagens would otherwise turn int a thick bloom that would have to be sieved off. I think it works because they bind with the cornflour rather than with themselves. That’s the science bit over.
Once the gravy is heated and thickened, serve the shins with some parsnip purée and a nice dollop of the delicious sauce.
So, that all looks very straightforward. The beef was as beefy as the opening credits of Rawhide. It was delicious.The parsnip purée was perfect. It was just that the beef might have been just a little bit on the chewy side. Once I let that little niggle creep in, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. The Wife disagreed. She said it was perfect. She said I was getting obsessive. She might even be right. I now believe that I think it could have been better if I had given it 60 hours rather than 48. Or perhaps 54? What if I had done it for less time at a slightly higher temperature? What about a little longer and lower temperature? What would Stefan think? Am turning into a total sous vide nerd?
Time to buy an anorak to wear in the kitchen….