I’m bringing food back! It’s been quite a long while since I posted a recipe. But I recently got a brand new PolyScience immersion circulator, something I’ve been eyeing for quite some time, and now our kitchen has become a 24-hour sous vide factory.

I’m still learning the ins and outs of this beautiful machine, but I thought I’d write about the first food item we cooked in the immersion circulator: New York strip steaks. Now, the strip is not my favorite cut because it’s rather lean when compared to the more marbleized (and, thus, fatty) ribeye. But that’s what we had on hand (because I like variety, and I always get ribeye), and I was anxious to try out the Creative series immersion circulator. The first two strip steaks were cooked at 138°F for 2 hours, and they came out to a medium well. They were good, but not the medium rare I love.

So the second time around, the strip steaks went in for 90 minutes at 130°F. And these were quite possibly the most tender strip steaks I’ve had outside a five-star steakhouse.

I served it with a side of quinoa, hummus, sautéed kale, and roasted beets. (For the quinoa recipe, you’ll have to stay tuned until my latest show, “Four Senses,” airs in 2014—it was a recipe I learned from my co-host, Carl Heinrich.)

In the meantime, here’s the New York strip steak recipe to get your mind thinking about the possibilities with an immersion circulator.

P.S. I’ll discuss in more detail about my PolyScience immersion circulator later as I become more familiar with it. As I type this, beef cheeks are cooking in the water bath. And next week, we plan to sous vide our turkey for the family Thanksgiving lunch. But I was too excited not to post the first dish with which we broke in the immersion circulator. Stay tuned for more scientific cuisine.

Recipe: Sous Vide New York Strip Steaks

Summary: You’ll need the following toys: (1) a PolyScience immersion circulator; (2) a vacuum seal system such as the Food Saver; and (3) a cooler, bin, tub, stockpot, or Dutch oven.

Ingredients

  1. 2 strip steaks at room temperature
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. kosher or sea salt
  4. freshly ground black pepper
  5. 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Fill your cooler/bin/tub/stockpot/Dutch oven/treasure chest with cold water, leaving approx; 2″ from the top. Place the PolyScience immersion circulator in the water, plug it in, and set it to 130°F.
  2. Brush both sides of steaks with oil, and season with salt & pepper. In an iron skillet over high heat, sear the steaks, approx 30 sec per side. Let cool slightly before dropping them in a vacuum seal bag. Pour butter over steaks and seal the bag, making sure there are no holes. Shake the sealed bag a little to get the buttery goodness all around.
  3. When the water bath has reached the desired temperature, submerge the bag of steaks in the water. Set timer for 90 minutes and go watch 3 episodes of “30 Rock” reruns.
  4. Turn off the PolyScience, fish out the bag of steaks. (Bonus: Use your bare hands, and you’re already one step ahead for a manicure.) Let cool slightly before cutting open bags and removing the steaks. Over high heat again, sear the steaks one last time in the iron skillet, approx 30 sec per side again, making sure not to salivate on your partner’s steak. Eat immediately.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 35 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2

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13 Discussion to this post

  1. Khoa says:

    What PolyScience immersion circulator do you recommend?

    • Christine Ha says:

      I have the Creative series immersion circulator from PolyScience. It's geared more towards the home cook rather than the Professional series, which is probably more heavy-duty but larger. Are you thinking of purchasing one?

      • Khoa says:

        Definitely Christine…I am your biggest fan 🙂 Where can I get one and how much do they run for?

        • Christine Ha says:

          They are not cheap, but ever since I got one, we have been using it non-stop. It's so easy to just set the thing and forget about it. And if you get the temperatures and timing right, the food comes out perfect every time. Very precise cooking method. Try visiting the PolyScience website at http://www.cuisinetechnology.com to do some research and purchase. Let me know if you can't find what you're looking for.

  2. @JeffD503 says:

    As a big steak eater, I'm pretty particular about my steak. I wish you could see what you have in that picture, but I can tell you that is a good looking piece of meat. Seriously, I wish I could have sampled that for myself, and like you, the strip isn't my favorite cut, although I prefer the sirloin myself.

    This is the first time I'm ever heard of this sort of cooking or this kind of item for that matter. It sounds very interesting. I may have to add it to my growing list of kitchen needs/wants. Currently, that list includes a pressure cooker, fryer, waffle iron, counter space, and willing guinea pigs. XD

    Anyway, this new recipe sounds delicious. I hope to one day try it out for myself. Thanks for sharing, and happy Thanksgiving in advance from all of us here in the middle of the road.

    • Christine Ha says:

      Whew! Thanks for your comment. When I first began reading it, I was nervous because it sounded like you were going to tell me my steak looked overcooked. LOL.Sous vide is an old French method, but the technology for it in the home kitchen is fairly new. Before, it would be difficult to get a precise temperature of a water bath using the stovetop, but now these amazing immersion circulators like the ones from PolyScience will move the water around and keep the temp exact down to half a degree. You may have to wait a long time for your food, but the results are nearly perfect each and every time.As for your list of kitchen needs/wants, I got a pressure cooker (the kind that goes on the stove and NOT the electric kind) right after I came back from filming “MasterChef,” and that thing has been a life changer. Now beans are made in 45 minutes instead of soaking overnight and cooking for hours. I also got a deep fryer after the show, but it's a pain to clean up. I'd almost rather use a heavy-bottomed pot and a fry thermometer, though maybe my deep fryer is just not the greatest. I used to have a Fry Daddy, and that served me well for making eggrolls, but it was a Junior, so a little too small for my needs. I, too, could use more counter space and storage. The closet of our guest bedroom is currently additional storage space. My hubster joked that pretty soon, I'm going to turn the entire guest bedroom into a walk-in pantry.

      • @JeffD503 says:

        LOL I never thought I'd make a MasterChef nervous. You can rest easy with me. For one, I'm no authority on food. Plus, I don't mind an "overcooked" steak myself. My preferred cook is medium-well, but I could eat cooks below it.

        Well, I learned something new. It's very interesting, this new technology. As for the time, I say anything done well is worth the wait.

        That would be the kind of pressure cooker I'd want to have myself, mainly for your braised pork, but I'm sure I can find other things to do with it. I might just need a little more practice with the pot. I tried it with your kale chips, and I lost more than I saved, hence no picture yet. (BTW: my respect for your ability went up again after trying to fry chips). So, I guess, it'd be more accurate to say, I'm looking for a good fry basket. With your guest closet, if it becomes a walk-in pantry, you could always tell your guests they can feed themselves if they get a little peckish. 😛

        • Christine Ha says:

          The pork belly still comes out better when braised the old-fashioned way. But the pressure cooker is good for when you're limited on time.

  3. Hello, a few things. Searing the steak before cooking it sous vide is good because it starts the Maillard reaction (it continues afterwards) and flavours to permeate the meat.

    I would not salt the steak before sous vide because the cooking time is not long enough for the dry-brining to occur. The salt will draw moisture from the steak, but there is not enough time for the meat to re-absorb the moisture. I would either dry-brine or wet-brine the raw meat before sous vide, or salt the cooked meat shortly before serving.

    I would use either olive oil or butter, but not both combined.

    90-120 minutes is too long, especially if the meat is already at room temperature or pre-seared. The meat only needs to be in the bath until the core temperature reaches the desired level (about 1°C below the bath temperature). If the desired core temperature prevails for more than 20 minutes, enzymes will over-tenderise the meat, which can result in an suboptimal texture and flavour. Most meats take 40-60 minutes, depending on thickness. As a reference, Modernist Cuisine has a recipe for a 5cm thick bone-in rib eye steak cooking for 75 minutes in a 129°F bath.

    The second searing should take place at a lower temperature, while constantly spooning melted butter or olive oil over the meat. At this stage, herbs can be put on top of the meat, the hot fat spooned over them will release their flavour onto the meat.

    After the second searing, the meat should rest for at least five minutes (depending on thickness) on the countertop. This is to allow juices to redistribute throughout the meat. If the meat is cut when it is still too hot, the meat will lose juiciness and tenderness.

    • Christine Ha says:

      Thanks for all the tips. I'll make note of them, and I'm sure they'll be useful since I'm just a beginner with this sous vide thang. 🙂

  4. Bill says:

    Ive got the professional .. Ive slways seen the meat get seared after the water bath but ill have to try it before hand and see how it goes

  5. Michael Fredette says:

    Why would you start with cold water

    • Christine Ha says:

      Good question. Technically you don't have to start with cold water, I guess, especially if you are in a hurry and make sure the water you use is not above the temperature called for in the recipe. Starting with cold water would ensure you don't begin with a water bath that's too hot for the food.

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