Michael Ruhlman Cooks Sous Vide

A guest post by Michael Ruhlman

About ten years ago, sous vide cooking, cooking food at low precise temperatures, entered the professional kitchen in America. It’s now solidly in the home kitchen with various devices for sale. For the best price/quality ratio, Sous Vide Supreme has, since its arrival in 2009, been my favorite tool. It’s fabulous for home use. Do you need one to survive? Of course not. Can you do endlessly creative and awesome dishes with it? You bet. What is it that makes you want to own a sous vide machine—slow cooking of tough meat, hitting the perfect temperature every time, egg cooking? Other? {Let us know in the comments!}

I slow cook beef ribs for 48 hours for tender and juicy ribs. I’m going to make this as simple as possible. Salt and pepper the meat, seal it in a bag (get out all air so they don’t float), cook, chill, finish. {Get the complete easy sous vide beef short ribs recipe here.}

Michael Ruhlman Sous Vide Beef Ribs

I made these last January for the sailing crew in Key West. Short ribs cooked sous vide are amazingly juicy and tender and tasty, a quintessential example of the value of sous vide. You’d have to braise these to get them tender, in which case you’d need to rely on the sauce for succulence rather than the meat.

This recipe also defines a great general rule: all tough cuts of meat, braising meats, from brisket to pork belly to short ribs to lamb shank can all be cooked sous vide in the exact same way: 48 hours at 140˚F/60˚C. Then flavor the outside by searing, grilling, saucing or a combination. They can be cooked sous vide and chilled in an ice bath and refrigerated for days or frozen for months before finishing.

Photo by Donna Ruhlman, used with permission

You can transform eggs in ways no other method can. {Get Michael’s sous vide eggs recipe here.} I love putting a soft boiled egg into soups, as in the above ramen dish. I use it monthly to make a big batch of yogurt. {Get the sous vide yogurt recipe here.} It’s a great water bath for cooking custards, meatloaf, and its supercilious brother, pâté en terrine.

It’s an amazing technique, for weekday cooking (cooked ahead) or for cooking for big groups (also cooked ahead). And it results in tenderness and flavor that can’t be achieved any other way.

Editor’s note: If you’re as big a Michael Ruhlman fan as we are, you’ll want to check out his blog, which is absolutely filled with fabulous recipes–both sous vide and traditional–and the most glorious food porn imaginable, courtesy of his talented wife, photographer Donna Ruhlman. You can also follow Michael on twitter and facebook.

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