Sous Vide Hanger Steak
Chef Matt Provencher of The Foundry in Manchester gives his tips on how to perfect the sous vide method of cooking
The sous vide (French for under vacuum) method of cooking is all the rage with many chefs, including Evan Hennessey at Stages at One Washington in Dover and Matt Provencher at The Foundry in Manchester. With new high-tech kitchen tools, it’s now easy for the home cook to use the gentle heat of warm water to prepare tender meats and flavorful vegetables.
Provencher has been using sous vide since his days at Portsmouth’s Martingale Wharf. He is famous for his work with succulent meats, including BBQ short ribs, and now for his prime rib, served on Thursday evenings at The Foundry. “With sous vide, the beef is always spot-on, staying a bit pink in the center, but it’s a 9-hour process,” says Provencher. Many of his meat cuts are removed from the bag and then quickly seared on the stovetop or in the oven to caramelize. The low-and-slow method breaks down the sinew and fat, rendering tougher meat cuts beautifully fork-tender. Provencher also likes to make soft-boiled eggs in the water bath, claiming they come out perfect every time.
Sous Vide Hanger Steak
Succulent and a solid pink in the center
Recipe by Chef Matt Provencher of The Foundry
1 hanger steak cut into 2, 3 or 4 portions
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Start to heat the water bath to 129 degrees (the finish temperature for medium rare) with sous vide tool.
Clean and chop the thyme. In a mid-size bowl, combine the soy, oil and thyme.
Put one steak with marinade in each Ziplock bag, slowly submerging to remove the air. (Follow directions if you have a vacuum sealer.)
Sous vide for two hours. Depending on the thickness of the cut, times can vary. Generally more time will not ruin the perfect outcome — that’s the beauty of sous vide.
Once cooked, cut out of bag, pat dry and rub in salt and pepper. Sear on a very hot stovetop grill or hot cast iron pan for a minute or two. In season, you can finish outside on the grill.
Remove the steak from the grill and let rest for at least five minutes. Slice thinly against the grain and serve, maybe with a chimichurri sauce.
Buying a Sous Vide Tool
Chefs use a powerful heater and circulator that is part of a plastic 18-gallon bin with a cover. No stovetop space is required. Several companies have developed tools for the home cook that attach to a pot and heat and circulate using less than 900 watts. One option is the Joule ($179), totally controlled via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi through your cellphone, which can be flaky. It heats quickly at 1100 watts while the magnet at the bottom holds it upright in a metal pot. The Anova Nano is also highly rated, costs less than $100, and offers manual options for control in addition to Bluetooth and runs at 750 watts.
Tips From Chef Matt Provencher
Plan ahead. Even carrots can take 2 to 3 hours, while a pot roast can take a full day.
Be careful that the water stays up to temperature, as you run the risk of bacteria if the water drops to 130 degrees or below.
Use plenty of water, which helps keep the temperature even for the whole process.
Experiment with vegetables, but maybe not green vegetables. Provencher says he doesn’t like the taste of sous vide asparagus.
Use a Ziplock bag for ingredients. Close the bag slowly while dipping in the water, and let the water pressure remove the air.
Any dish that is normally braised can be made sous vide.
Google recipes for compound butters, egg dishes, etc.
Be careful not to overcook as proteins can get mushy.
Find time and temperature charts online.
Remember that this is an exacting science, but the window of perfection is larger than with other methods.