Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sous Vide Pot Roast

Clocks have been set back an hour this past weekend and I am thrilled to have that extra hour to use! But along with that hour is having to deal with shorter days, early nights and well, the winter weather mindset comes in with the cold temps. When the cold sets in, I want nothing more than comfort food. So I've been looking through my lists of favorite comfort foods to draw some inspiration for dinners. One dish on my list was pot roast. My ideal pot roast should have this deep color which translates to rich flavors. I'd also like it served with creamy mashed potatoes and some veggies to balance things out. So with my pot roast craving on full drive, I made it... but in a non-traditional way. This pot roast is a taste of a different cooking method that achieves a tender pot roast full of flavor. And can you believe it was prepared submerged in water? Queue the plated photo of Sous Vide Pot Roast...

Okay, so let's familiarize ourselves a bit with sous vide cooking. Sous vide is a method of cooking foods in vacuumed or seal tight plastic bags. The foods are then submerged in water that is temperature controlled, often cooking in this water bath for a long period of time compared to traditional methods. Despite the lengthy cooking times, the beauty of sous vide cooking is that the foods are cooked evenly where moisture is retailed and the internal temp is ideal without over cooking the exterior.

For awhile, I've coveted a sous vide ever since a co-worker had me try his roast beef sandwich which he made via sous vide. It wasn't until my trip to Seattle a couple months ago, I met the folks of SousVide Supreme. I was curious about a home sous vide system, as my only experience was in a commercial kitchen setting. We partnered up and I got a SousVide Supreme system to explore the world of sous vide cooking at home.

The system is extremely light - it's essentially a stainless steel water bath vessel where the water can be set to your preferred temperature for various types of foods. Using it is even easier. Simply fill up with water to at least the minimum fill line. Using the keypad on the front, set the temperature (in either Fahrenheit or Celsius) and place the cover on. Meanwhile, you can place your food or ingredients in a food safe plastic bag and vacuum seal it to remove as much air as possible. Once the water reaches your desired temperature, it will sound off an alarm and you can then submerge your vacuum sealed foods right into the water. The cover goes back on and depending on what you are cooking and at what temperature your water has been set to, you let it cook for however long. Not sure what temperature to set the water to or even how long to keep your foods in a water bath? No worries... the system comes with a recipe booklet and a cooking guide for all types of items that can be cooked via sous vide. And if you happen to lose the guide, the website has the info available too!



I first tested the SousVide Supreme system with a prepared, organic, grass fed beef pot roast from my favorite home delivery organic grocery service, Door to Door Organics. It was already vacuumed sealed with a marinade. Now, it was just a matter of submerging it in the water once it reached the set temperature of 140 degrees F (or 60 C) for a medium rare pot roast. I placed the cover back on and let it cook (poach) for roughly 15-17 hours. Think of it like a slow cooker where everything is cooking in water...

After the lengthy cooking, I sliced the roast and popped it into the broiler for some additional color. This was simply optional but for presentation purposes, it nice to show off some color. With this as a success using an already packaged up pot roast, I set off to do my own pot roast and vacuum sealing it myself as well.

The end result? In both cases - with the store bought and homemade - the pot roast came out extremely tender but did not fall apart like traditional pot roast. Instead, the roast retained it's shape perfect. Because the roasts were vacuum sealed, there was no moisture lost even with long hours of cooking. The vacuum seal also intensify the flavors of the marinade into the roast, making it extremely flavorful.

So if you're curious about sous vide cooking or even thought that it was just a bit too fancy of a method to try at home, you might be surprised how easy it is. It's no more harder than using slow cooker that you set and forget. With a SousVide Supreme, you simply drop it and forget it very much in the same way. Regardless, the food comes out wonderfully! Here's the recipe for the homemade pot roast prepared via sous vide (and pictured above)...

Sous Vide Pot Roast
original Joelen recipe

1 teaspoon italian season
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
3 lb chuck pot roast


In a small bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients.

Rub the roast with the mixture and place in a large gallon (3.8 liter) cooking pouch or food safe vacuum sealable bag.  Vacuum seal according to manufacturer's directions.

Submerge the vacuum sealed roast in the water and cook for 15-17 hours. 

Remove from the pouch and pat dry.

Transfer the roast onto a broiler pan and broil for 1-2 minutes or until desired color is reached.

Slice and serve.