Wednesday, November 10, 2010

48-hours beef brisket

I always wondered what a 48 hours beef brisket cooked in sous-vide would taste like, and I tried this twice. Ironically, the first attempt was more successful than the first. Let's see why.

I followed the recipe on Thomas Keller's cookbook, so I started from seasoning the meat with salt and pepper, then I seared it on all sides for about 7-8 minutes, until nicely browned.

I then let the meat to rest for a few minutes, cooled it in some zip-lock bags that I immersed in water to speed up the cooling process, and finally placed the meat into the refrigerator to cool it for a few hours.

In the meantime, I prepared some herb sachets by wrapping 3 slices of garlic, and some sprigs of thyme and rosemary. I cut a few millimeters of the corners of the bags to create openings that the liquid could circulate through.

I vacuumed packed the chilled briskets in individual packs, together with the herb sachets.

Finally, I placed them into a water bath at 64C degrees for 48 hours. It is a long process indeed...

As I mentioned earlier, I got different results out of the two times that I attempted this. Since the process was exactly identical, the conclusion is that the meat was quite different. I noticed that the briskets I used for second batch had substantially less marbling and were more uniformly red. I t was quite visible when the meat was raw, and it resulted into a pinker meat with less fat, and therefore drier when cooked.

At the end of the day, this is all common sense which applies to sous-vide as much as it does to other more traditional cooking techniques. It just means I will pay much more attention to the cuts of meat I will be given from now on!

To finish off the dish, I drained the juice from the vacuum bags while the meat was still warm, reduced them to a half and added a teaspoon of cream and one of horseradish to make the sauce. I sliced the briskets, slightly coated them in flour on the pink sides which I briefly pan-roasted. I finally served the slices on a bed of parsnips puree' and radicchio rosso on the side.

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