Friday, February 5, 2010
Third Sous Vide attempt- roast of tenderloin
You may wish to check out my original post for details on how I made a crock pot into an apparatus that can cook sous vide for NO. ADDITIONAL. MONEY
As I stated in my last blog, while I was not bowled over by my first attempt at cooking a filet, I still wanted to continue down the same path. Tenderloin has a couple of characteristics that make it stand out from a piece of ribeye, sirloin, chuck, etc.. 1. because it's so lean it does not possess as much natural flavor as the other steaks. That's why you almost never see it served without some sort of mushroom, bearnaise, or other sauce. And 2. if it's cooked as traditionally recommended (seared in a cast iron pan and finished in an oven) it is typically cooked evenly. The 'bulls eye' effect is not as prevalent.
So it stands to reason cooking tenderloin sous vide would not have quite the transformative effect that others do. The delta between filet cooked traditionally and filet cooked sous vide is not as great as it is with other cuts of steak. I was certain that if I could only get the steak to the perfect amount of doneness (for me, i think this is probably between 137 and 138 degrees) filet would remain my favorite type of steak, regardless of how it is cooked.
Unfortunately I chose to cook an entire roast for family members. Some of them are even of the misguided mindset that their steak is perfect when it was cooked medium/well. I rid myself of that initial problem by extending the invitation only on the contingency that 'under no circumstances will your meal be cooked medium/well.' Out of generosity, I settled on cooking the roast medium (140 degrees)- my goal of getting it cooked as I wanted it (between medium and medium/rare) would not happen this time around. Blessed by a wonderful family, but cursed with one with poor taste in steak, I lunged ahead. Oh well- I don't see myself tiring of this sort of cooking anytime soon.
I spent a lot of time planning this meal. While I was frustrated I need to intentionally 'overcook' the steak, I was excited at the notion of cooking for others. I decided to serve the tenderloin 'two ways' as I have often heard on the cooking shows (although not truly two different 'ways,' just two different sauces). For one, I made a rosemary and roasted onion sauce. And the other, I made a smoked cheddar and roasted garlic sauce. I served the steak on top of homemade bread (another new hobby I've picked up) for the with roasted asparagus, and a roasted corn and pablano pepper slaw (one of the LA Times best recipes of 2009).
I seasoned the tenderloin with garlic powder, kosher salt, and pepper, vacuum-sealed it with the ziploc system, and refrigerated it. I brought it out of the fridge 45 minutes or so before i was ready to put it in for an hour and a half. When I brought out the tenderloin, I also fired up the crock pot on the highest setting possible and waited for the steak and the the sous vide cooker to warm up.
The crock pot reached 140 degrees and I put in the tenderloin. I find, depending on the size, that the protein may drop the temperature by a degree or two which this one did. I watched the thermometer religiously for the next hour and a half and shut it off at a couple points when it reached a hair over 140 degrees.
When I got the ten minute warning people were ready to eat, I turned on the grill as high as it would go, brushed the roast with grape seed oil, and seared it. I cut into it and it was perfectly consistent form top to bottom, but a little overcooked for my taste, even given my lowered expectations. I think those few moments when the steak grazed about the 140 degree mark may have hurt it just slightly. However, it was still succulent, consistent, and tasty. Everybody claims to have loved it, but they were all family members so who knows what the truth is.
For the next post I may switch it up and detail my first attempt at chicken and 'fried' chicken as well (I cooked the chicken sous vide, coated it, and finished it in a couple tablespoons of oil).
If anybody has any questions re: the tenderloin or other recipe, please comment! I'd also welcome any comments on if other people have tried a similar set up as me- did I luck out with this crock pot and the fact that it hovers on warm around 140 degrees?