So, one of my biggest Christmas presents this year was a huge addition to our kitchen: a sous vide machine!
Because when Thomas Keller writes a book about a revolutionary cooking technique, most of us who love to cook immediately want to try it out!
Sous vide is a technique that starts with vacuum-sealing the meat or vegetables that you’re cooking, and then boils them at a low temperature for a long period of time, which breaks down proteins without toughening the meat. You basically can’t overcook anything using this method — so long as you set the proper temperature for the water bath, you could leave the meat in it for anywhere from 90 minutes to about 8 hours with terrific results. You can also cook foods at less than the temperature you’d need to oven-bake it to, because you’re holding the food at the temperature for longer. Sounds good, right? Add in dozens of people online talking about how sous-vide is the future of cooking, and I was extremely curious.
This machine is a pretty serious investment, and I’ve spent just about every weekend getting used to it. What started with a so-so salmon filet (my fault, not seasoned properly or seared to finish) eventually became an absolutely perfect chicken breast (in bulk for weeknight dinners, even) and these terrific lamb chops. I’m not usually much of a meat-eater (or -cooker), which you guys know already from reading this blog, but these were great.
Worth the investment? Time will tell. I’m still a little scared to leave anything cooking while we’re at work, both for food-safety and regular-safety reasons, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. And to save me from being stuck in the kitchen during a dinner party while everyone else is having appetizers and drinks? Priceless.
Lamb Chops Sous-Vide
1/2 pound lamb chops
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Fleur de sel
Fresh cracked pepper
Fill the sous vide machine with water and heat it to 132 degrees F. Salt and pepper the lamb chops and rub a small amount of olive oil on each. Vacuum seal the lamb chops. Cook for two hours in the sous vide machine, and then sear them (in a preheated pan with a tiny bit of olive oil) on high heat for 30 seconds on each side.