Muscle tissue is approx. 75% water. Fact.
If you cook meat at more than 100C a significant amount of the water in the muscle will evaporate. Fact.
Enter stage left, the Chef’s Sous Vide water bath.
Of all my prized kitchen gadgets, this is the star. My wife bought it me for Christmas because of my passion for cooking and my desire to produce restaurant-standard meals at home.
And one of the secrets of restaurant-standard cooking is the method by which you cook your freshest ingredients.
The key, in very simple terms, is to retain the moisture in food, be it meat, fish, vegetables, whatever.
• First you vacuum pack your chosen ingredient (in this case, steak).
• Then you fill the water bath with cold water.
• Next you set the temperature at which you would like to cook, but also the temperature at which any dangerous bacteria is killed. This all depends on the tenderness and size of the cut of meat, or your chosen veg. For example, rib of beef for up to 10 hours at 55C; sirloin steak for 2 to 3 hours at 55C; chicken thighs for 2 to 5 hours at 64.4C; brocolli for 20 to 30 mins at 83.9C.
• Then once the water bath has come up to temperature, immerse your vac-packed ingredients into the water and set the time. The bath will be kept at this temperature for the duration.
All the water – thus the tasty juices that makes food taste the way it does – is retained. And because, in the case of meat, you are cooking at temperatures that break down both the fat and the collagen fibres that hold the muscle together, you end up with an end product that is not only incredibly juicy, but also amazingly tender.
• If you’re interested in exploring this revolutionary style of cooking for yourself, I got my Sous Vide from these guys.
• And if you’d like to share your experiences of WATER, why not head over to The Gallery.