First time for everything.

From S., 20 July 2011 – sous vide: first timer how-to?

Q: Hi Wendy-

I have to sous vide for the first time tomorrow… a whole tenderloin… any tips?

A: Tenderloin – of beef, right? Keep in mind a couple of basic principles, common to all cooking low temperature cookingen sous vide. First, the more connective tissue/collagen, the longer you need to cook, and conversely, in the absence of connective tissue, keep it short. Second, know the temperature at which you want the finished product, and keep in mind food safety principles. 130F/56F for about 1h30m will pasteurize your meat; 140F/60C for a few seconds will do the same. Third, you must sear your meat after cooking sous vide for the Maillard reaction, or your meat will be somewhat gray on the outside.

Keep the temperature relatively low – I would say not higher than say 54C. Portion the meat into medallions of serving size (maybe 1″ or 1 1/2″). Bag. Add butter to the bag before vacuum sealing. You want it basically to butter baste in the bag. You can add other seasonings, but be careful about olive oil, raw garlic, rosemary, and bay as these can become overpowering or acquire a strange taste. Cook in the water bath about 60m or so, depending on the diameter and thickness of the meat. Not much longer (3h for medallion portions would be about the outer limit, and it shouldn’t take that long).

Remove from the water bath. If serving immediately, cut open the packet and blot dry the medallions. Heat a large pan; when very hot, add butter and then the filet medallions. Sear on each side, not more than 30 sec each. It should not take long for them to color. Remove from the heat and serve as desired (slice if you like). You do not need to rest meat cooked sous vide.

If not using immediately, chill in the bag in an ice water bath and then refrigerate at 5C or below.

I don’t recommend you do a whole tenderloin (as in the primal cut) since a) you will have trouble finding a bag large enough to accommodate, not to mention vacuum seal; and b) you need to leave enough room in the circulator for the water to circulate freely. A whole tenderloin also will take longer to reach the appropriate cooking temperature – perhaps 1h 30. I don’t recommend going over 4h cooking time, or it will go mushy. If you want to cook sous vide in larger portions rather than medallions, limit to about 8″ to 10″ long unless you have a really large bath, to permit proper water circulation.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

Epilogue:

From S:

I thought id let you know how i got on…

I trimmed and tied my whole tenderloin .. then crushed some garlic, chopped some fresh thyme and mixed it all with some olive oil. Then gently rubbed it into the filet.

I then rolled it in cling wrap to try to preserve the shape.

I found a nice large bath and a sous vide bag…. doing all of this in a Williams Sonoma store did help a little.

I had the bath at a constant 139.1F and once my filet of beef was at room temperature I placed it in the bath making sure there was plenty of space to for water flow around it …

I cooked it for 1 hour 45 and I have to say the texture was superb very evenly cooked and very tender whilst being very moist.

I cut it into slivers and served it with a home made mayonaise based horseradish and mustard sauce.

Thanks for your help-

One thought on “First time for everything.

  1. Pingback: First time sous vide. « The Upstart Kitchen

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