Originally, I imagined that any cheap cut of meat cooked with the sous vide method would emerge tender and juicy after many hours. This is simply not true. I have learned that sous vide cooked meat can emerge tender, flavourful, and even medium rare but bizarrely enough also dry. For this reason, the beef was somewhat underwhelming directly out of the sous vide bath.
I sought to improve the dish by changing the sauce, which worked, but I also think this method for beef may simply benefit a different style of dish. It would work very well for a ravioli or other stuffed pasta, where the lack of moisture would actually be a benefit. I am intending on trying this in a future post, so stay tuned. I am also planning on documenting several different iterations of temperatures and cooking times to see if the moisture level can be improved by changing these variables.
I compared this dish with two sauces, first was a simply sherry pan sauce (pictured above) and the second was a red wine reduction sauce. The red wine reduction was a far superior accompaniment to the beef, and also filled the gap that I felt was missing due to the slight dryness of the beef.
500g beef shank, bone removed
1 sprig thyme
1 garlic clove, halved lengthwise
8 whole peppercorns
1 tbsp olive oil
For the red wine reduction:
1/2 cup red wine
1 tbsp minced shallot
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp butter
1. Set sous vide bath to 75 degrees C and timer to 12 hours.
2. Lightly season the beef shank with salt, and place in the zip lock bag with the olive oil, thyme sprigs, and garlic clove. Remove air with the water bath method, seal tightly, and place in the sous vide bath for 12 hours.
3. Once the beef is done, remove from the sous vide bath and ziplock bag. Heat a pan to medium-high heat, add a glug of olive oil. When the oil just begins to smoke, add the beef and sear for 90 seconds a side, or until a nice caramelization develops. This will happen a lot faster than with raw beef, so monitor the beef closely when it is searing. Set the beef aside, and reduce the heat to medium.
4. Add the red wine and shallots to the hot pan and reduce by a half. Add the mustard and whisk to incorporate for about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from heat and add the butter while whisking continuously. Serve with the beef.