Sous vide preparation isn't just a hot food trend—it's dang tasty. Sous vide slow-cooking yields incredibly juicy, tender portions of meat that are just unparalleled. If you want to wow your customers with amazing meat dishes, it's definitely worth getting acquainted with this style of cooking.
So what are the best sous vide recipes out there? Which protein choices lend themselves best to sous vide preparation? Let's take a look at five of our favorite meat-based recipes.
Some meats are more forgiving than others for variance away from true sous vide. Fish is one of those. Fish is always best cooked at lower temperatures and is notoriously tricky to grill. High heats tend to dry it out the filets if the cook isn't closely monitoring the prep.
Some chefs have devised ways of cooking fish under near-sous vide conditions. Consider, for instance, these recipes by Fine Cooking's Laurent Gras: Gras cooks fish in a 140-degree water bath, in a standard Ziploc freezer bag, for just 10-15 minutes. Try his Poached Cod with Green Olives and Potato Purée—it's amazing.
Although Gras' method lacks the pinpoint-precise temperature control of a standard sous vide immersion dish (he cooks in a standard boiling pot, which can make temperature exceedingly tough to regulate), his way is well-suited for a sous vide newbie to experiment with sous vide-like cooking and get acclimated to the technique, before making an investment in specialized equipment.
How about a Thai-infused beef tenderloin? Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten over at Food & Wine presents us with our beef obsession this week. Another dish that those new to the sous vide trend can prepare at home under near-sous vide conditions, without investing in specialized equipment, Vongerichten's recipe is, nevertheless, easily accomplished under traditional sous vide conditions.
The pairing of Asian fish sauce, orange zest and Thai chilies gives his beef dish a complicated savory-sweet-spicy profile, and the slow, low-temp water immersion makes this tenderloin's texture true to its name.
Many cooks overlook lamb. It's not for everyone. It's difficult to cook under regular conditions: Too short and it's underdone; even slightly over time and it gets chewy and tough. Naturally, that makes it an excellent candidate for sous vide preparation. Sous vide is a forgiving method for cooks who can't afford to, or who simply don't want to, loom over a cooking cut of meat.
Lamb can also be a bit boring; often, cooks and chefs under-season it and rely instead on pairings to complete the flavor profile of a lamb-based meal. But it doesn't have to be like that. What is our favorite lamb recipe out there?
Check out this offering from the SousVide Supreme blog: Rack of Lamb with Pomegranate-Coffee Sauce. It's an incredibly tasty example of Eastern Mediterranean-inspired cuisine—a trip to old Constantinople, served up on a plate.
Another overlooked protein choice—pheasant—is the basis for mind-blowing home style ravioli from our favorite Dutch sous vide blogger, Stefan.
Searching for a way to use leftover pheasant cuts, Stefan prepared pheasant legs in a 5-hour sous vide bath with fresh-ground black pepper and fresh thyme. He then processed the tenderized meat with nutmeg, parmigiano reggiano and egg to create a delicious, exotic stuffing for his homemade ravioli dough.
Tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone ribs without a smoker? Indoors? It's possible. Just ask the folks over at ChefSteps, who offer up their Apartment Ribs recipe for home sous vide cooks.
How can a sous vide-prepped rack of ribs measure up to the earthy, savory goodness of a traditional smoker cook? The secret, said ChefSteps, is a particular brand of smoked sea salt—Bonfire—made via a proprietary (and super-secret) method in the Pacific Northwest.
But that's just on the taste side. Any great barbecue cook will tell you that one of the reasons that slow-smoking is a wonderful way to cook ribs is that it makes for a wonderfully tender mouth feel. That's exactly what sous vide prep specializes in. So, even if you intend to grill in the flavor, a preliminary sous vide slow cook will help you to attain that special, tender, mouth-melting texture.
There Are Plenty Of Protein Choices Out There, Just Waiting To Be Used In Your Sous Vide Experiments
These are just five of the best recipes we've found. But we'd love to hear what you're doing on your own. Send us pictures and write-ups of your favorite sous vide meat dishes; we may feature them on a future blog!