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Filtering by Category: beef

Sous Vide Filet Mignon

Patricia Reitz

 Sous Vide Filet Mignon - ButterYum -- 

Sous Vide Filet Mignon - ButterYum -- 

Sous Vide (pronounced SOO-VEED) is a French technique for cooking food under water using one of these circulators, at a very precise temperature, without fear of overcooking, resulting in foods that are cooked perfectly every single time - something which can be very difficult to achieve with traditional cooking methods, especially when cooking expensive steaks like the ones I'll be showing you today.  We're talking the kind of perfection you find at a fancy French restaurant (which happens to be where the sous vide technique was perfected), only way cheaper and you can do it yourself any time you feel like it.  Here's how. 

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Start with 12-inch thick filet mignon steaks, a couple cloves of sliced garlic, and some butter.  

Note:  I purchased a 4-pound whole beef tenderloin at Costco, which was enough to feed my husband and me for 3 meals (plus a little snacking between meals), and it cost less than what we would have spent going out for dinner at a nice steakhouse just once.  And I didn't have to worry about over cooking them at all - I knew they were going to be perfect!  

Back to the steaks, tie them around the equator with kitchen twine to help the super tender meat keep a nice shape.  Be careful when doing this - the meat is so tender that you can actually damage it if you pull the twine too tight.

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Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

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Place the prepared filet mignon steaks in a sealable bag with sliced garlic and a pat of butter (amounts listed in the recipe below).  Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible.

Sous Vide literally translated mean 'under vacuum', and a lot of things cooked via this method are placed in vacuum sealed bags, but the term can be a little misleading because you don't actually have to vacuum seal foods in order to cook sous vide.  Any food-safe bag that can be sealed, and can withstand the desired temperature water you plan to submerge it in, can be used so long as you remove as much air as possible.  Removing the air is important for two reasons.  1) so the bag will stay submerged (air would make it float), and 2) to reduce the oxygen in the bag which prohibits oxidation and the growth of many kinds of bacteria. 

Place the container of choice on a heat-proof surface.  I used a stockpot, but you can use just about any vessel that will tolerate the temperature water you'll be using.  Place the sous vide circulator in a vessel - it should be large enough to hold the circulator and enough water to fully submerge the sealed bag with room for the water to move around.  There's a minimum and maximum level indicator on the side of the circulator so fill the vessel with enough water to fall between those two levels. 

    DSC_2246 (3).JPG

    Set the cooking time and temperature you choose.  My model is set manually, but you can also get models that can be programmed using an app on your smartphone.

    I cooked my filet mignon steaks at 138F (medium-rare) for 2 hours, but I could have held them at that temperature for up to 8 hours without worrying about them overcooking.  That left me with plenty of time to set the table, arrange the flowers, and make the sides.  No stress!

    A word of caution - the cooking vessel will be filled with very hot water for an extended period of time so be sure to place it on a heat-proof surface and in a safe location away from pets or children.


    Beef Doneness Chart

    • 125-130F (52-55C) = Rare
    • 130-140F (55-60C) = Medium Rare
    • 140-150F (60-65C) = Medium
    • 150-155F (65-69C) = Medium Well

     

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    Place the sealed bag in the vessel.

    DSC_2247.JPG

    You may not need to do this, clipping the bag to the side of the cooking vessel will keep the bag from blocking the circulator's water flow.

    So what do you do if you need one medium-rare steak and one medium-well steak?  Simple - place each steak in its own sealed bag.  Cook the first steak at the higher temperature for 2 hours, then reprogram the circulator to the lower temp.  When the water reaches the lower temperature, add the 2nd steak.  After 2 hours, remove both steaks at the same time.  The first steak won't be negatively affected by hanging out in the lower temperature water while the second steak was cooking.  Love that!

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    Ok, remove the bag from the hot water when the cooking time is up.  You can see the steaks don't really look like they're ready to eat, but we're going to fix that.

    CastIronSkillet.jpg

    Heat a skillet until it's screaming hot.  I like to use cast iron for this.  Add a drizzle of oil and a good pat of butter.

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    Remove the steaks from the bag.  Pat them dry and remove any bits of garlic.  Reserve the garlic slices and any juices that have collected in the bag.  Add the steaks to the screaming hot skillet and let them sear on each side for 30-60 seconds per side.

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    Oh my - I wish you could smell my house right now!

    DSC_2257.JPG

    Once the steaks have seared, place them on a plate to rest.  You can make a quick pan sauce by adding the reserved garlic and juices from the sous vide bag to the hot skillet.  Stir and scrape up any seared bits from the pan and let the mixture bubble away and reduce for a minute or two, then turn off the heat and swirl in a pat butter.  

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    Seriously, just look at that, will you?  It's not gray around the edges and raw in the center.  It's cooked to absolute perfection - the entire thing - from one side to the other - perfect.  You'd never ever be able to achieve that in a skillet or on the grill.  Heck, I've worked with professional chefs who can't cook a steak that well. 

    And the flavor?  Forghettaboutit - absolutely perfect in every single way you can imagine.  Super tender, juicy, buttery, garlicky, and absolutely luscious... in a word, phenomenal.  

    DSC_2289 (3).JPG

    I kind of wish I could share this with you, but that would mean less for me so let's just say I hope you'll get a sous vide circulator and give it a try.  I promise, you won't be disappointed. 

    And be sure to check back because I'll be posting a lot of sous vide recipes in the future -savory and sweet things.  I can't wait!  

    Items used to make this recipe:


    Sous Vide Filet MIgnon

    makes 4 filet mignon steaks

    Printable Recipe

    Ingredients

    • 4 (8-ounce) filet mignon steaks, tied
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
    • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

    Directions

    1. Prepare filets by tying each around the equator with kitchen twine, being careful to not wrap it too tightly which could rip through the tender meat.
    2. Evenly sprinkle the kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper on both sides of the filets.
    3. Place filets, 1 tablespoon of butter, and sliced garlic in a sous vide or heavy duty zipper bag, being sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing.
    4. Place sous vide circulator in a vessel and fill with water according to manufacturer's directions; set temperature and cooking time (I set mine for 138F for 2 hours - use temperature guide decide how you'd like your filets cooked).
    5. Place sealed bag in water, being sure bag is fully submerged and clip bag to side of container to keep it from blocking the circulator pump.
    6. When the sous vide time is done, remove sealed bag from water.
    7. Preheat cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot.
    8. Add remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter to the skillet and sear filets for 30-60 seconds on each side; remove to a platter.
    9. Immediately pour the juices from the sous vide bag into the hot skillet and whisk for about 1 minute; add the remaining butter and whisk until melted, then pour over steaks and enjoy!

    DIY Corned Beef

    Patricia Reitz

     DIY Corned Beef - ButterYum

    DIY Corned Beef - ButterYum

    I recently learned how easy it is to make corned beef from scratch and I thought since St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner, I'd show you how it's done.  And let me just go on the record and say this, you may never go back to the stuff from the grocery store again.  

    Be sure to plan ahead -  the brisket needs to brine for 6-8 days before cooking. And you'll also need to find pink curing salt, not to be confused with pickling salt, pink himalayan salt, or pink Peruvian salt (look for Instacure #1 or Prague powder #1).  You can order it online or you might be able to get some from a butcher or someone who makes their own sausage or cures bacon.

    First prepare the brine.  The beef brisket will sit in the brine for a minimum of 6 days and a maximum of 8.  Clockwise from top left:  table salt, whole garlic cloves, brown sugar, pink curing salt (instacure #1), bay leaves, whole allspice berries, whole coriander seeds, whole peppercorns.

    You'll also need 16 cups of water, and a non-reactive vessel (glass, food-grade plastic, stainless steel, or ceramic) large enough to hold the brine and brisket (I used this ginormous 13-quart French oven, but anything that's big enough and isn't made of aluminum, uncoated cast iron, or unlined copper will work).

     How to make your own corned beef from scratch - recipe and how to photos

    Add the brisket, bay, garlic, peppercorns, allspice berries, and coriander seeds.  My brisket stayed completely submerged in the brine.  I yours doesn't stay submerged, you can be weighed down with a dinner plate.

    Cover the container and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 days and a maximum of 8 days.  Less than 6 days and the brine won't penetrate all the way through the briskets.  More than 8 days and the brisket will be too salty.

     Recipe for homemade corned beef - ButterYum

    Here's what the brined brisket looks like after 8 days.  Remove the brisket and discard the brine.

    On the day you prepare the corned beef, you'll need more peeled garlic cloves, black peppercorns, and bay leaves.  Also preheat the oven to 250F.

     How to make your own corned beef recipe - ButterYum

    Place the brined brisket in 10-quart or larger stockpot and add the bay, peppercorns, and garlic.

     Recipe for homemade corned beef - ButterYum

    Pour in 8 cups of cold water.

     How to corn beef from scratch - ButterYum

    Bring to a boil on the stove top, then remove from heat and cover.

    Place in center of preheated oven for 3 hours.

    Return stockpot to stovetop and transfer corned beef to platter; drizzle with some cooking liquid to keep it from drying out.  Add the cabbage, carrots, and potatoes: simmer for 15-30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender (remove cabbage after 10 minutes).

    I like to scrape away some of the excess fat from the top of the corned beef - that allows me to see what direction the grain of the meat runs.  Cut slices across the grain.

    Try not to drool.

    Ugh.... it's soooooooo good! 

    DIY Corned Beef

    makes 12 servings

    Printable Recipe

    Ingredients

    Brine:

    • 4 quarts water
    • 3/4 cup table salt
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons pink preserving salt #1 (see note below)
    • 4 bay leaves
    • 3 whole peeled garlic cloves
    • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
    • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
    • 5 whole allspice berries

     Additional Ingredients (the day of cooking):

    • 4 pound flat cut beef brisket, fat trimmed to 1/4-inch
    • 2 quarts water
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 3 whole peeled cloves garlic
    • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
    • brined corned beef
    • 1 head cabbage, cut into wedges
    • 1 1/2 pounds red new potatoes
    • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

    Directions

    1. Brine (6-8 days before cooking):  In a 12-quart or larger non-reactive container, whisk the table salt, brown sugar, and curing salt until dissolved; add bay leaves, whole garlic cloves, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, and allspice berries.
    2. Place trimmed beef brisket into brine, cover, and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 days and a maximum of 8 days (brisket should stay completely submerged - use a dinner plate to weigh it down if necessary).
    3. Remove brisket from brine and discard brine.
    4. Preheat oven to 250F.
    5. In a 8-quart or larger stockpot over medium-high heat, combine 2 quarts water, bay leaves, whole garlic cloves, black peppercorns, and the brined brisket until it reaches the boiling point.
    6. Turn off heat, cover, and place in preheated oven for 3 hours.
    7. Remove stockpot from oven and return to stovetop; transfer corned beef to a platter and drizzle some of the cooking liquid over to keep it from drying out.
    8. Add cabbage, carrots, and potatoes to the stockpot and bring to a simmer for 15-30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender (remove the cabbage after 10 minutes).
    9. Slice beef across the grain and serve with the cooked vegetables. 

    Notes:  

    • Pink curing should not be confused with pickling salt, pink himalayan salt, or pink Peruvian salt (look for Instacure #1 or Prague powder #1).  It should contain a mixture of sodium chloride and sodium nitrite.  
    • The difference between curing salt #1 and #2?  Basically, curing salt #1 is used to preserve things that will be cooked (corned beef, sausage, bacon, etc). Curing salt #2 is used to preserve things that will be air dried (salami, pepperoni, jerky, etc).  

    adapted from America's Test Kitchen

    Beef and Tomato Bake

    Patricia Reitz

      Beef and Tomato Bake - ButterYum

    Beef and Tomato Bake - ButterYum

    It's time for this month's Secret Recipe Club, where a group of food bloggers, choose a recipe from a fellow blogger, then we make and share our results.   It's a lot of fun and a great way to meet new bloggers.

    This month I was assigned the blog Searching for Spice by Cornina.  I don't know where Corina lives, but her blog is charming and she sets her oven to celsius, measures ingredients in grams and mils, and she uses terms like rasher (bacon), tomato puree (tomato paste), and mince meat (ground beef).  I'm guessing she's somewhere in the UK, but I don't know for sure.  What I do know for sure is that we loved this dish.  The bacon adds the most wonderful flavor and we gobbled it up.  I can't wait to use it as a filling for stuffed peppers some day.  Thanks for the great recipe, Cornina!

    We'll start by chopping some "rashers" (aka slices) of streaky bacon.

    Saute the bacon in an oven-proof pan until it browns.

    Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and minced garlic.

    Continue to saute until the onions and peppers are soft and tender, stirring frequently to keep the garlic from burning.

    Add the "mince" (aka ground beef) and continue to saute until the beef is cooked through.

    Ready for the next step.

    Add the rice and stir for a minute or so.

    Next we'll need chopped tomatoes and tomato paste.  Have you found tomato paste in a tube yet?  It's so much easier to use than the canned stuff.

    I like to cook the tomato paste a little before adding anything else. 

    Add the remaining ingredients - tomatoes, beef stock, dried basil, and ground black pepper.

    Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat off.

    Cover the pan and place it in a preheated 180C oven (356F) for about 30 minutes.  

      Easy Beef and Tomato Bake recipe with how-to photos

    I added a few fresh basil leaves just before serving - it was super tasty.  We also discovered a sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese finishes this dish off well.  It would work well as a filling for stuffed peppers too.

    Beef and Tomato Bake

    makes 4 servings

    Printable Recipe

    Ingredients

    • 8 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped
    • 1 bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, minced 
    • 500g ground beef (just over 1 pound)
    • 200g uncooked white rice (about 1 cup)
    • 6 tomatoes, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 beef stock cube dissolved in 300ml water (or 1 1/4 cups beef stock)
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 355F.
    2. Saute bacon in an oven-safe pan over medium high heat until brown.
    3. Add onions, peppers, and garlic; continue to saute until the onions and peppers soften.
    4. Add the rice the cook for about a minute, then add the remaining ingredients.
    5. Bring the mixture to a boil, remove from heat and cover.
    6. Bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes. 

    adapted from Searching for Spice.

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