11 Jun 2016

How to Sous Vide In The Oven

My first attempt to sous vide without any fancy kitchen gadgets....I used a digital ovenproof thermometer, deep ovenproof casserole, large freezer bag with a zip (try the bargain shops), round cooling rack, bulldog clips and a straw.

I took inspiration from online searches and asked hubby to help me. Temperatures and timings can be found at ChefSteps (a link is at the end of this posting).  I cooked my joint for 6 hours which produced meat which was medium but I think 4 hours would have been sufficient.

I did find it all a bit of a faff but the end result made it all so worthwhile. The meat was a silverside joint I bought from Asda when it was on offer, for our time we were rewarded with a really tender joint without shrinkage and it didn't dry out. The downside is that you have to sear the meat in a pan after it's cooked and this process fills the kitchen with smoke, or alternatively browned using a blow torch otherwise the outside looks anaemic, unappetising and the meat will lack in flavour.

Beef being prepared for sous vide
Experimenting before buying expensive gadgetry is a great way to try before you buy.  Sous vide machines have a huge footprint and some are the size of a microwave or there are alternative sous vide cooking aids that you can buy.

I used a fan setting at 110 deg C and let the oven heat up and stabilise for a good half an hour prior to cooking. The rolled 1kg silverside joint is seasoned and placed into a strong ziplock freezer bag.  It's good practise to turn down a third of the bag to the outside when placing the meat inside the bag to help eliminate bacteria.

This is where the faff begins.....Place hot water from the tap to half fill the large deep casserole. Now boil the kettle and add some of this to the casserole, using your digital thermometer you are looking for 60 deg C.

Taking the air out of the bag using the water displacement method is to simply place the open bag into the water and the air is automatically released from the bag, close to a straw width and then making sure you don't suck up any meat juices suck out the remaining air and close the bag.

Beef joint being placed in casserole for sous vide

Place the rack on top of the casserole, using bulldog clips attach the bag to the top of the cooling rack, ensure that the bag does not touch the casserole.

The rack and bulldogs for sous vide oven cooking

Being extremely careful place the casserole into the oven.  Top up with hot water checking it is 60 deg C.

Testing the water temperature in the casserole

Place the probe of the digital thermometer into the water and attach using a bulldog clip, ensuring that it is reading the temperature of the water and not in contact with the casserole, close the oven door.

Digital temperature thermometer probe attached to the rack of a casserole for sous vide cooking

Adjust the oven temperature to keep the water to 60 deg C. My oven temperature setting initially needed to be 110 deg C but then tracked down to range between 65 deg C and 75 deg C I used fan for efficiency, but once it settled down I didn't have to keep an eye it was quite happy at 85 deg C.....but all this for me was a faff but hubby seemed happy enough checking the temperature.

The oven set up for sous vide

The meat doesn't look very pretty when you remove it from it's water bath but you get all those lovely meat juices to make your gravy, just be sure to pour these through a sieve and you are left with tasty meat juice.  Here is a blog post How to use juices from the bag after sous vide braising explaining why it is necessary to sieve the meat juices before making a sauce.

Cooked beef after being cooked sous vide in the oven

I used ChefSteps Time and Temperature Guide
For the water displacement method ChefSteps Simple Sous Vide Packaging
A must read: How to Cook Food Perfectly and Cheaply with a DIY Sous Vide Machine
An interesting read: How to sous vide in the oven with or without water

Disclaimer: Other oven brands are available but #boughtformebyme. Please be sure to do your own research if you are using this method regarding temperatures and timings because I take absolutely no responsibility for anyone reading this post and falling ill!