Salant Family Ranch

Peter at Salant Family Ranch sent me some great short ribs the other day.  What can we do with these??

Re-Inventing or Getting Back to Basics?

It’s funny, you know.  I started thinking about this dish a couple weeks ago and could not decide if I was re-inventing it or brining it back to basics.  It’s a simple beef strogonoff but with a little different element.

The noodles are home-made as seen in the earlier post.  Instead of domestic mushrooms, I’ve used local wild mushrooms and instead of bits of beef quickly sautéed, I used beef short ribs that were sous vide for 36 hours.  So, I’ve decided it’s a hybrid dish.  Not quite back to basics, but not quite re-invented.  It was, however, quite delicious.  Fantastic American style bistro fare.

Homemade Egg Noodles

We have a dish on the menu that is a basic beef strogonoff…  It’s sort of iconic here in the sence that it’s been on the menu forever and typifies the fare served in our Bistro.  Well, I want to really enhance that dish and offer it in our dining room.  Here’s an image of the homemade egg noodles that will go into the dish.  I will work on the dish in it’s entierty over the next couple days.

New Short Rib Appetizer


Sous Vide Short Ribs with Local Wild Mushroom Risotto and Cabernet Sauce

More Sous Vide.

Here are some shots of my next batch of sous vide shortribs.  As you can tell from the photo, it all starts off traditional with some great searing on the grill and sweated mirepoix…

By the way, those little chunks made great snacks.

It’s all finished with some demiglaze, red wine and aromatics.  Then it’s sealed and placed in 131 deg F bath for 48 hours.  Filet texture with shortrib taste.  How, I mean HOW can you go wrong?  Planing on serving this with the braising jus and parsnips for an upcoming party.

1/2 The Results

Here are some photos of the sous vide short ribs half way through the cooking process and the traditionally braised short ribs for comparison.  Tomorrow we will plate them both up side by side for a taste test.

What’s All the Fuss With Sous Vide Anyway?

Modern sous-vide cooking originated in Switzerland in the 1960s as a way to preserve and sterilize food in hospital kitchens. Many restaurants now use the technique as a combination of cooking method and storage shortcut, because the food, once safely cooked under seal, can be quick-chilled and refrigerated for days.   In today’s kitchens, traditionally a piece of meat is place in a 600 deg F pan or Blazing hot grill and cooked until the center reaches the desired temperature (130 deg F for Medium Rare).  This results in almost 50% of the flesh being dry and overcooked while the center reaches the proper temperature.  With sous vide, the entire piece of meat is cooked in a medium that is the same temperature you want the center to be.  So, if you want Medium Rare, you set the temp for 130, let it go until the center reaches that temperature and the whole piece is 130 deg end to end without anything being over cooked.  Furthermore, you cannot over cook it because the temperature never goes above this.  Also, the longer you leave it in the water, the more tender the meat becomes.  This is why more tender cuts such as filet mignon require short times in the area of about 2 hours and beef shortribs which are very tough require days.

So, that sounds great and all, but there’s a lot more to it than just that.  Suffice to say, many people may dismiss this cooking method in modern kitchens as a passing trend.  My experience tells me that it will be around for a long time.  The evidence is in marketing.  A home cook can now purchase sous vide equipment that is geared to the home cook at fairly reasonable prices. 

One such piece of equipment is called “Sous Vide Magic” that allows you to connect a temperature controller to a rice cooker that will precisely maintain the temperature required for sous vide cooking.  This will set you back about $150 (for the controller alone, no rice cooker included).

Another product geared towards the home cook is the sous vide supreme.  It’s a heavy, tabletop (bread machine size) unit that’s self contained.  It’s creating a lot of buzz.  This will set you back about $450.

It’s suggested that both units be used in conjuction with a vacuum sealer.

While I am not endorsing any of these products in particular, my only point is that a lot of marketing and research dollars are going into making units available to the home cook.  They may become as common as the microwave.  Sort of a reverse microwave that cooks food in hours/days not seconds/minutes. 

So, these indicators tell me there’s a market and people are into it.  Yet, still, the vast majority of diners do not know what sous vide is.  I recommend reading up on it.  As they say, once you cook sous vide, why would you ever want to cook any other way again?

Beef Shortribs. Sous Vide of Course.

Here I am playing with the 36 hour braised beef shortrib.  The beginnings of the technique are all very traditional.  They are seasoned with the old salt and pepper then seared hard and fast.  They are then combined with sweated mirepoix, aromatics, red wine and veal stock.  Just for fun and comparison, I am braising a batch traditionally in the oven, then another batch will be sous vide at 130 deg F for 36 hours and another yet will be sous vide at the same temp for 48 hours.  Holding them at 130 deg F will effectivly pasteurize the product making it very stable.  I’m hoping to achieve a fork tender shortrib that remains medium rare.

Sous Vide Potato Confit

Here is a take on a technique first done by Chris Huerta who I worked with at Old Edwards last.   He would confit the potatoes traditionally in a pot on the stove.  Here, I used seasoned duck fat and sous vide them at 176 deg F for 2.5 hours.  They will be crisped in a pan to order and served with…?

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