Saturday, April 4, 2009

Using the Varoma to gently cook meat.

This is a post that I had written for the Italian Bimby forum at this site

I decided that I had best start putting posts on this blog to make it of some value to those interested in Thermomix cooking.

In France, America and some other countries, to a lesser extent, sous-vide is being used to gently cook food. The idea is to cook food at a lower temperature than is generally used, and using a vacuum to assist this process.

There is a very useful website

The concept can be used to different meats and fish, and even vegetables, gently over a long period of time producing a very tender result.

I have eaten ox cheek cooked for 40 hours in vacuum-sealed bags at 55 deg (I think), by Dan Hunter from Royal Mail Hotel at Dunkeld, and the result was amazingly tender. Many top chefs in Australia now use this technique. The photo below shows pork loin on the left rear section of the plate that was cooked sous-vide at about 70 deg for an hour. It was so tender and moist.

In Australia there are simple vacuum-sealing machines for home use that can be used for sous-vide.

The machine, called a Food Saver, was developed to seal food in a vacuum to allow for longer "shelf-life" in the home refrigerator or freezer.

There are bags that come with the machine:

The bags when sealed can then be placed in the refrigerator or freezer and stored for longer than would normally be possible, because you have managed to eliminate more of the oxygen from the bag.

These bags can be used to cook food in the microwave oven or in water at lower than boiling (100 deg). They are perfect for sous-vide.

You can, however, use zip-lock or snap lock bags to obtain a similar result. I have seen Philippe Mouchel and Robin Wickens demonstrate the use of these bags for home cooks like me. You just need to expel as much air as possible before sealing.

Then, when you place the bag in the water, you do not have to worry about the water damaging the meat or fish. For bollito, you must have boiling water in which to drop the meat, to "shock" and seal the outer layer and prevent water leaking into the meat during cooking. By using these bags, you can cook at a gentler temperature without fear of the water causing problems.

One of the ideas of sous-vide is to allow gentle cooking so that the protein in the centre of a piece of meat or fish cooks without the outside becoming overcooked.

You can gently cook the meat or fish protected by a plastic bag as in the previous post. Another method of cooking is to place the meat or fish in the Varoma and cook it at 100 deg for a few minutes before grilling it to give the outside of the meat or fish its usual caramelised appearance, that most people prefer to see when eating.

The following are photos of some wagyu (Japanese) beef that was steamed in the Varoma for 10 minutes before being seared on a grill for 30 seconds on each side:

After steaming:

After grilling for 30 seconds:

Unfortunately I did not take a photo to show how uniformly pink it was inside.

The following is a photo of some pork that was prepared in the same way:

The following is quail that was cooked for about 15 minutes at 100 deg in the Varoma while a pan was being heated in the oven at 250 deg and then the quail was transferred to the oven for 3 or 4 minutes and then rested for 5 minutes before serving. The meat was very moist inside and tender.

The times will vary depending on size of bird or piece of meat, but it is worth experimenting to see how juicy and tender the meat is with these methods of cooking.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome, thanks for the post. Just purchased a TM31 and looking for new ideas already. Sous vide is something I'm interested in trying with the TM31 and your post fit the bill.