The bone-in roast from yesterday was excellent and will be again in a day or two; there are leftovers. I’m looking forward to warming the two remaining bones, pan-searing them in butter and garlic, and serving them with mashed fauxtatoes, roasted butternut squash and maybe a small pile of the ever-present sauteed kale. But not tonight. Tonight we’re having beef.
There’s no recipe for tonight’s main attraction. I’m simply doing almost exactly what Kenji Lopez-Alt explains at his Food Lab’s Complete Guide to Sous Vide Steak.
No, I don’t (yet) own a “Searzall” to finish the sous-vide steaks. I go with the hot cast iron pan technique and think it works just fine.
Tonight’s steaks come from a full strip loin I bought earlier at Cash & Carry. I went there just for a couple things, pillow of kale, bag of poblano peppers, that sort of stuff. But there was a strip loin in the walk-in that just called my name. Modest fat cap, fine marbling and not gigantic. I was able to cut 14 1 1/2 inch steaks and give the ends to the appreciative dog. Two steaks I seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme and a dusting of roasted garlic powder before vacuuming. The remaining 12 were vacuumed, labeled, and put in the chest freezer. I love knowing there’s months worth of protein in the freezer.
Sous-vide cooking, following, mostly, Kenji’s rules has basically ruined having steaks in a restaurant. I suppose the upside is I’ve saved the purchase price of the cooker several times over by not paying $35 and up for steaks that always disappoint.
The most recent steak experience was at Smithfield’s in Ashland. It was pretty good but still left the impression of being meat from a supermarket. Knowing that I can buy USDA Choice whole strip loins for about $4.45/lb, cut my own inch-and-a-half steaks, season them to my whims, sous-vide them precisely, then pan-sear them as dark and smokey (and buttery, don’t forget the butter!) as I like, has sort of impinged on the restaurant experience.
Tonight’s sides will be roasted butternut squash and probably steamed broccoli. I might caramelize a couple onions, too.