Friday, March 06, 2009

Tapas: Sous-Vide Fennel, Patatas Bravas, Braised Cabbage and Soyrizo, Seitan, Kale and Cannellini Bean Stew, Smoked Tamari Almonds

Tapas 3/06

Sous-Vide Fennel

Patatas Bravas

Braised Cabbage and Soyrizo

Seitan, Kale and Cannellini Bean Stew

Smoked Tamari Almonds

We've been playing around with the sous-vide technique lately, and here's a recap...

First we start with the smoker box. Here's a close-up, with alder wood chips hiding underneath -- Tamari Almonds, Seitan, Yukon Potatoes

The smoker box again, while in the background, the canning pot comes to temp. For the sous-vide setup we were able to use off-the-shelf equipment -- canning pot, thermometer, FoodSaver -- instead of an immersion circulator and industrial vacuum-sealer. The temp stayed rock solid over the entire cooking time...

After the smoker has gone for 25 minutes, the Yukon Potatoes (plus earth balance, olive oil, salt, pepper) go into the FoodSaver. The fennel (along with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and fino sherry) was cut into 12 wedges and vacuum-sealed.

Sous-Vide Fennel: After being cooked at 83C for 45 minutes, the fennel is dropped into an ice bath for five minutes. Then the bag was opened, and quickly seared in olive oil and seasoned. The result is melt-in-your-mouth tenderness, a great taste, all the while retaining structure.

Sous-Vide Patatas Bravas: The potatoes were also cooked at 83C, but for 2 hours. At the end of cooking the bag was dropped into an ice bath for 5 minutes, then opened, and the potatoes were quickly seared in a pan with the addition of red bell pepper, smoked paprika, red wine vinegar, salt & pepper. The potatoes retain that earthiness (and the smoke flavor) that would have been diluted had they been cooked in water.

The rest of meal...

Braised Cabbage & Soyrizo. no sous-vide on this one, slow braised on the stove top. Hiding in the background is the tamari almonds -- marinated in tamari for an hour, then smoked. It's surprising there were enough left by dinner time to take a picture. ;)

Seitan, Dinosaur Kale & Cannellini Bean Stew -- onion, garlic, seitan, wilted kale, cannellini beans, tamari, smoked paprika, fino sherry, veg stock. stayed together nicely in the ring mold.

The sous-vide aspect of the food was definitely an upgrade in flavor, texture and control. Once the bags went in the water, I didn't have to think about them until it was five minutes before it was time to eat.

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