Thursday, 3 October 2013

A Prize Beef Joint

Last Friday I pottered up to my local social club with my wife for a well deserved beer to end a busy week. Having delivered me a good pint of London Pride, the landlord asked if we wanted to enter the weekly meat raffle so we handed over £3 and were presented with 3 tickets. Thirst sated and reminded that we were to be at the club the following day for an end of season drunkards v the pro's bowling match. 

The following morning we strolled up to the club to find we had won the top prize, a good piece of beef. After the bowling where we demonstrated our skills and came joint last, we picked up this rather fine joint of beef which, I am sure you will all agree, was a bargain at £3

 There is only the two of us and we were not in the mood for guests having spent the rest of the weekend pulling down the old summer house in preparation for the delivery of a new one later this week. This in mind, I decided to cut the joint into three.

We don't have beef very often as it is not my wife's favourite meat so, to date , I had not tried cooking a joint in the sous vide. Since this had cost us so little I thought I would give it a try. All three pieces were vacuum packed. Two for the freezer and one for supper.

Though I like my beef blue, my wife prefers her meet slightly cooked so I set the sous vide to 56.5C to cook the beef to medium rare and once it had reached temperature I submerged the meat in the sous vide for five hours. On removing it, it looked like this.

After removing the vacuum bag the meat looked cooked but very uninteresting as you can see.

I was not worried at this point. Anyone who uses a sous vide knows that you need to brown meat  before or after cooking to caramelize the outside and add that necessary something to the flavour. To this end I had a very hot cast iron skillet ready. I seasoned the beef and treated it to a short but very hot sear in the pan. This made the beef much more interesting. Once rested, I carved it and served it with roast potato cooked in goose fat, broccoli, peas and a jus made by de-glazing the pan with red wine and adding from the juices from the vacuum bag. 

As you can see, cooking meat in the sous vide enables you to get a constant level of cooking through the joint, A sear in a very hot oven, or my preference, a very hot pan or barbecue and you have a perfectly cooked joint that looks great when carved and served. I had confidence that this meat would be tender but I could have left the beef in the sous vide for 10 hours. This would have broken down the collagen in the meat and made it even more tender without cooking it any more than medium rare.

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