Flavour

In the Sous Vide Recipes Forum
I have been trying to use the sous vide method of cooking for about a year and although everything comes out looking like the pictures and very tender, it tastes of nothing much and the fat stays hard and inedible. I have tried beef fillet ( flavour- soft cotton), lobster (flavour- none), salmon (flavour- not bad but boring) spiced belly pork and rack of lamb (hard white fat). The veg that I have tried seem fine but my meat and fish attempts seem to leave all the flavour in the bag. Any suggestions will be very welcome as I have eaten food in restaurants that has been given the sous vide treatment and has tasted fine. We have a proper water bath and an exact temperature control system so I don't think it's the equipment, perhaps it is because we live in Europe where our cuts of meat are different or something!


8 Replies So Far

Hi Stephie, what type of seasonings are you adding to the bag? Most items cooked sous vide should have more flavor than ones just seared because there is less juice lost, and the post-sous vide sear should add all the flavor of the crust back.

Are the ingredients you are cooking with very flavorful if you just sear them like usual? It could just be a lower quality of ingredients?

I'm really not sure what else to suggest since they *should* taste just as flavorful as usual if you are using the same ingredients / spices.
Dear Jason,
Thanks for the input, but I've thought of most of those things. If I just cook the meat and fish conventionally it turns out fine with lots of flavour, so I don't think it's the ingredients as such. However with the sous vide style of cooking everything gets a 'boiled" taste. I notice that a lot of for recipes on the website pour sauces over the meat after it is cooked so perhaps I will try that. I'll keep trying and hope to get it right but in the meantime my sous vide efforts are strictly for the family and not for dinner parties or business meetings.
Thanks again, Stephie
I just had a special guest in town for a week, and after having steaks, potato with duck fat, carrots, beets, pork carnitas ... He is now interested in sous vide.
I didn't do any special sauces, however I did make sure the meats and potatoes got good color either on the grill or the comal.
I did chicken breasts recently, once finished on the grill and once straight out of the bag (leftovers for chicken salad)
The grilled breasts were great, while straight out of the bag were a bit "boiled tasting", but took chicken salad to a new level.
Browning quickly while still maintaining that moist interior seems to be key, but I'm still in a learning curve.
My only experience with sous vide so far (controler on order for crockpot) has been "beer cooler salmon" and that was enough to make a believer out of me. I really hate that boiled taste -- won't even use a George Forman grill because the cover steams the meat. So now I'm worried about the cash I put out for the controler!

Did you add any liquid to the pouch? Or is it possible your temperature controller is running low? I read that at under 130 degrees the fat in meat won't melt and the juices are not released. Here's the link -- he explains it better.
http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/03/how-to-sous-vide-steak.html
Ingredients:

? A wild salmon fillet (about 3/4 -inch thick) with skin on
? A few tablespoons of fat (beef or pork drippings or olive oil)
? Salad Greens
? Blackberry Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
Tools:
? Thermal picnic cooler (3-5 gallons)
? Ziploc bag large enough for salmon
? Thermometer
Instructions:
First, remove the skin from the salmon. This is easiest to do if you add a few tablespoons of fat to a skillet and sear the salmon, skin side down, for 3 minutes. Remove the salmon from the pan and use a knife to separate the skin from the meat. Set the skin aside.

Next, heat several gallons of water and monitor it with a thermometer until the water reaches 130 degrees Fahrenheit. When it reaches 130 degrees, pour the water into the cooler.
Put the salmon in a large Ziploc bag. Partially close the seal, leaving approximately 1 inch open for air to escape. To create the most airtight seal possible, slowly lower the unsealed bag into the water. Once the bag is almost entirely submerged, then finish sealing the bag. There should be no air left in the bag.

Release the bag into the water, trying to position it (if possible) so that the bag has water all around it and is not just lying on the bottom of the cooler.
Close the lid on the cooler and let the fish cook undisturbed for 45 minutes. You cannot overcook the fish so it can go longer if you need it to.

To make the salmon skin bacon, heat more oil in a pan and sear both sides of skin until crispy. Salt to taste and break into small pieces.
Take salmon from the water bath, remove from the bag and place on a bed of greens tossed with blackberry vinaigrette. Top with salmon skin bacon bits.
Blackberry Vinaigrette
Ingredients:

? 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
? 1 tablespoon minced shallots
? 1 tablespoon honey, or less to taste
? 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
? 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
? 1/4 teaspoon salt
? 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
? 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
? 1 cup blackberries, roughly chopped
Instructions:
Combine vinegar, shallots, honey, mustard, tarragon, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking continuously. Stir in the blackberries and adjust seasoning to taste.
That recipe appears to be from Mark's Daily Apple. We are happy with links to other people's recipes but unless you are the original author please do not post the recipe directly in our forums. It's just not fair to the people who originally created the idea.
Hi dear If I just cook the meat and fish conventionally it turns out fine with lots of flavour, so I don't think it's the ingredients as such.
However with the sous vide style of cooking everything gets a 'boiled taste. I'll follow your tips too. Thanks for posting.
For pork, chicken and salmon we use a brine (a very quick one for the salmon) to add moisture and flavor before rinsing, patting dry and going into the sous vide bags. We've been able to add TONs of flavor (my apologies for sounding like Rachel Ray) by adding herbs and compound butters to the bags. With beef, the key is getting a good brown crust with a very,very hot grill for a minute on each side after the meat comes out of the bags.

Jay


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