Friday, December 25, 2009

Preliminary Report on the Sous Vide Supreme

A disproportionate number of Wooly Pigs customers cook sous vide, compared to the population at large. I mean professional chefs and - perhaps more importantly - people cooking at home.

I suspect that is because the same people who read about a new cooking device that produces uniquely high-quality results are the same people who seek out a new kind of superb meat and fat. Here's an example of such a person.

In order to do some research, I bought a Sous Vide Supreme.

For my first try, I just put some Mangalitsa belly, salt and pepper in a vacuum bag and cooked it at 180F (82C) for about 8 hours. I wanted to eat the results that night, so I did it hot and short. In the future, I'll do it lower, to get higher yield.

You read about sous vide food having unmatchable textures - just as you read about Mangalitsa fat having amazing mouthfeel - but until you experience it, it is just a bunch of words. This Mangalitsa belly I cooked really melted on the tongue. The people who ate it said it was the best Mangalitsa belly they'd had.

I don't have any photos - I wasn't planning to write about my first sous vide experience, but it turned out so positively, I figured I'd let people know that I'm sold on the Sous Vide Supreme. Until the thing breaks or catches on fire - or does something equally awful and unexpected, I'm sold on it.

One reason sous vide interests me is because when done properly, sous vide cooking allows one to achieve higher yields. As this website (selling sous vide technology explains):

"Developed in the mid-1970s in France by chef Georges Pralus who was looking for a way to reduce product loss when cooking foie gras. Pralus found that by cooking foie gras sous vide, he was able to achieve much higher yield and improved texture."

As it further explains:
"food cannot be overcooked, as it is heated exactly to desired core temperature. This is especially helpful when using expensive ingredients like Kobe/Wagyu beef or fois gras..."
Wooly Pigs brand Mangalitsa is in that category - as pieces like these attest.

No comments: