Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sous Vide pork chops

Above is a picture of pork chops I cooked sous vide. Without a doubt, pork is the most transformative of all things I have cooked sous vide. I'm a steak eater, so I tend to cook lots of Ribeyes and Tenderloin. However, I've now cooked pork chops and pork tenderloin two times each. What I've learned is that while you amy prefer steak to pork, pork by far makes the biggest difference with sous vide.

First i brined the pork chops in a 7% salt, 3% sugar solution. To be honest, I often eyeball this, but I do find that brining when cooking sous vide, or cooking period is a big help. Michael Ruhlman's book, "Ratio" is where I got the 7%-3% formula. I set my temperature controller to 145 degrees for about an hour and a half. I'm well aware that cook can be safe at as little as 130 degrees for a longer period of time, but I can't get past just how pinkish the meat looks. My pork is apparently like my wardrobe- I'm okay with just a little pink, but too much kinda freaks me out. As it stands, just the little pink that was there almost lead my Nanna to send it back and it was her favorite type of food- free. In all honesty, I think any misgivings that diners may have when eating sous vide pork with some pink are quickly washed away when they taste just how good it is.

It seems as though a great many people really like the flavor of pork, but cannot get past the over-cooked, often mealy consistency. Most are used to their mother's pork chops, cooked to remove all traces of pink. The first rule of most home cooks tends to be 'nobody dies on my watch.' For me it's a distant second, but I can't get past the aesthetics so I go with 145 degrees.

After removing the pork, I dried it, brushed it with some grapeseed oil and seared it off for the colored, Mallard effect. I couldn't believe just how tender it was and very flavorful. I served it with my standard roasted small asparagus, a simple recipe I love. If I'm cooking for more then just a few people, I find this a great go to. All the work is done for you while you can busy yourself cooking other, more labor- intensive parts of the meal.

1. get the tiniest asparagus you can find,
2. chop an inch or so off the bottom,
3. line a cookie sheet with foil,
4. spray with PAM or other cooking spray,
5. spread the asparagus on the sheet,
6. drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper
7. put in oven at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes

Seven steps seems like a lot, but do this once and you'll be able to do it on auto- pilot forever. A nice, easy side vegetable dish, that presents well when plated alongside whatever else you're serving.

I also made crabcakes from an excellent recipe I found on epicurious. I have an application with recipes on it although I'm sure it can be found online as well. The recipe is actually from Bon Apetit magazine from April of 2009 called, 'mini crab cakes.' I ignore the mini and use full sized muffin pans instead. They're baked, not fried, delicious, and can be made ahead of time. I try to make them with risotto and use the leftover crab & cream cheese mixture together with leftover mushroom risotto (my other side, from the picture) to form a new, different form of crab cake when can be formed, par- baked and frozen. Not bad for leftovers!

Anyway, if you happen to stumble on a sous virgin who happens to already love pork in it's traditional, over-cooked form, make sure to sous vide some pork for them. It's nothing short of stellar.

I've also cooked pork tenderloin twice and will post on that as well.

picture posted on LA's #3- what i ate this weekend:,0,3465428.ugcphotogallery

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