Tender, Flavorful Beef Stew by Sous Vide
My idea of a perfect beef stew is tender beef in sauce of the right consistency and full of flavor. We are going to give specific tips on how to achieve this perfect beef stew using the sous vide method of cooking to get the beef all tender and juicy.
Choosing the meat
We want meat that has lots of connective tissues so when you cook it, it softens and breaks down and adds flavor and texture to the beef stew. Ask your butcher for a boneless chuck roll that has been cut from the front shoulder of the steer.
Cooking the meat sous vide
This involves using a sous vide machine and a vacuum-sealer. To cook sous vide means you are going to give the meat a water bath. You put the meat inside plastic bags, vacuum-seal it to lock in the flavors and to make sure water does not seep into the bag. The vacuum-sealed bag is then placed inside the sous vide machine where temperature is controlled at around 55 to 60 degrees Celsius, which is lower than what is used for normal cooking.
Equipment needed for sous vide
The first equipment you need is a trusty vacuum-sealer and some bags. You put the food inside the bag with the spices. You then vacuum-seal the bag.
The second equipment you need is a sous vide water bath. Most purchases will already include the stainless steel rack that holds the bags with the meat, making sure they stay under water. Most sous vide water baths have digital display for easy operation.
Try to avoid using flour as thickener. It can turn your stew into paste and it also dulls the flavor. Some use Xantham gum, another thickener usually used in salad dressings and soups. This is a better option since it will hardly affect the taste of your stew, just its thickness.
Finally, the secret is in the wine. This adds acidity and some zing to your flavor. You can use wine or sherry or vermouth, just a cup will do. Go for wine that is dry and not sweet.
The recipe: Sous Vide Beef Stew
This can serve 6.
- Beef, boneless chuck roll, 35 oz.
- Beef fat, 5 oz.
- Bacon, chopped, 5 oz.
- Carrots, diced, 5 oz.
- Celery, diced, 5 oz.
- Onion, diced, 5 oz.
- Garlic, chopped, 5 oz.
- Bay leaf, 1 pc.
- Butternut squash, peeled and chopped, 17 oz.
- Potatoes, peeled and chopped, 17 oz.
- Turnips, peeled and chopped, 17 oz.
- Tomato paste, .35 oz.
- Red wine, 9 oz.
- Beef stock, 17 oz.
- Lemon juice, .35 oz.
- Xantham gum, .10 oz.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Season the meat with salt and pepper. Place inside the bag along with the beef fat. Vacuum and seal;
- Cook sous vide for 48 hours at 60 degrees Celsius;
- After sous vide, remove the meat and put on paper towels to dry. Don’t throw away the juices in the bag, put in separate bowl;
- Fry the bacon to an almost crisp. Remove and put on paper towel to dry.
- On the same pan used for the bacon, sear the meat to a nice brown color, at approximately 30 seconds on each side. Remember, sous vide already cooked your meat. This step is just to sear it to a nice color;
- Put the meat aside, refrigerate;
- On the same pan, cook for 5 minutes in medium high heat the celery, onions and carrots;
- Add to the pan the tomato paste, bay leaf and garlic. Cook for another 2 minutes;
- Put the bacon into the vegetables mix;
- Pour in the red wine and turn to high heat. Let it boil until volume has been reduced to just half;
- Add the beef stock, bring to a boil and put off;
- Divide the juices into three portions. Divide the meat into three portions. Divide the vegetables and liquid mix into three portions;
- Prepare 3 food-grade plastic bags. In each bag, place a portion of liquid, a portion of meat and a portion of vegetables and liquid mix. In the end you will have 3 bags of same mixes;
- In the first bag, add the turnips. In the second bag, add the butternut squash, and in the last, put in the potatoes;
- Vacuum-seal each bag using a vacuum-sealer;
- Cook the bags in a water bath at 85 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes. When done, remove vegetables from the bags, and put all liquids together;
- Your liquid should be about 30 oz. Put in the xantham gum, and let it settle for a minute;
- Mix in the xantham gum by using a hand blender for about 45 seconds;
- The sauce should be of correct thickness that it will stick to the back of a spoon;
- Season with salt and pepper, add lemon juice and stir;
- Put the sauce in a big container, add in the vegetables and the meat;
- Keep warm on low fire until meat is warmed through. Serve.
Click here to see more about the recipe.