Tuesday, April 6

Solar Sous Vide Sirloin Steak with Spicy Fried Potatoes

Solar Sous Vide Sirloin Steak Just Like Eating Out
If you've ever wondered how restaurants get their meats cooked so evenly from side to side, it's because they use a pre-cook method called sous vide. Although I'm sure it will happen before long, right now, using this method at home can be very expensive. The equipment can run up to a couple of thousand dollars and using other home techniques requires constant vigilence and alot of fossil fuel energy. Unless, of course, you're using a solar oven and you follow my solar adaptation of sous vide cooking. For sides, please remember that I'm still trying to use up all those vegetables in my freezer from last year's harvests, so combinations are going to be very interesting for the next few months! Here we have a sirloin steak, quick-fried potatoes, green pole beans, and chard.

1. Slice up red potatoes however you want them finished. They won't lose their shape during the cooking process like the yellow or Idaho potatoes do. I sliced them like French Fries but you can dice them or cut into large chunks. Just make them roughly the same size.
2. Place potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Mix the following together in a small bowl: 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/8 teaspoon cumin, 1/8 teaspoon Chipotle pepper (or to taste), 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon Stevia/sugar, and a pinch of cream of tartar (optional). Add mixed spices and herbs to potatoes and gently stir potatoes until all potatoes are coated. Place in quart-sized vacuum bag and seal, only. Do NOT remove air in a vacuum seal.
3. Clean sirloin steak and remove thinner edges of meat, if any, so that piece of steak is fairly even from side to side. (This steak is frozen.) Place in a quart-sized vacuum seal bag and, this time, vacuum seal removing all air. Near the thickest part of the steak, make a cross on the upper side of the bag with a felt-tip marker. Using clear packing tape, fold over leading edge to make a mini-handle, and using approximately 2" of tape, attach it bag top so that it will cover X. Raise the leading edge of the tape so that an oven thermometer can be inserted into the thickest part of the meat, and set the dial to 140F for rare (my choice) or whatever temperature you prefer your finished steak to be. Keep in mind that the meat will continue to cook a few minutes after removal from the oven, so you don't want to overcook it.

4. Place in pre-heated solar oven, using SolarWear for easy placement and removal. You can see that the oven has reached 325F here; but, because the steaks (2) were frozen, the temperature came down to 295F. Steaks in left pan, potatoes in right. They were put in the oven at 1:15 p.m.. At 1:45 p.m., the steaks were still cool to the back of my fingers but at 2:15 p.m., the steaks were done, so I brought them inside, removed the meat thermometers, and sealed the thermometer hole with the tape. Then, I let my cold well water run over them for a few minutes to stop any further cooking.
I left the potatoes in the oven and added some chard and green pole beans I had frozen from last year's harvest. But, I had let them naturally defrost in the refrigerator overnight, so they weren't frozen in the solar oven.


5. The oven has returned to 325F and I left everything alone until 4:00 p.m. when I had finished some work I was doing inside. 1:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. conventional oven - 11,000 BTUs; solar oven - FREE! 
6. Spread out some paper towels on a dish or cookie sheet. Remove potatoes from bag and lightly blot with paper towels to remove moisture. Place 1 Tablespoon oil/butter/tallow in frying pan over high heat and add potatoes when surface begins rippling. If you want a real French Fry look, do this in small batches.
7. Remove steaks from bag and blot dry to remove any moisture. Pre-heat frying pan over high heat and let steaks sear on one side for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Steaks will actually move on their own when done right.
8. Turn steaks over and sear on other side for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Now, if you don't care for rare steaks, don't look at the next picture. I've included it to show how the steak is rare from side to side and seared on both tops and bottom, just like you get in the restaurant! The taste and texture is outstanding.

31 comments:

  1. That does look delicious! I like the idea of solar cooking, but I wonder for how long part of the year we can use it up here in the north. I guess it would work perfect from may to early september. I´ll try to find the equipment over here so I can test it!
    Have a great day now!
    Christer.

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  2. I use my solar oven year round, whenever there is sun. It has little to do with the temperature outside. But, in winter month's, when the sun's trajectory is lower, I cook between 10AM and 3:30PM for the strongest heat and that is usually around 225F - 250F. Check my earlier posts (Jan-Feb) where I cooked in high winds and at around 40F!

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  3. spicy fried potatoes-- now you're talking my language!

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  4. That steak looks amazing! It is definately that time of year to clean out the freezer. I need to get on that myself.

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  5. Love the idea of tasty, scrumptious food prepared with great consideration of the environment! I've never heard of solar ovens; there were solar cooking classes offered in Santa Cruz California recently - I must sign up and learn more!
    Thanks for sharing!

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  6. The problem up here in the north is that the sun doesn´t go up that high in winter. On the shortest days here we only have around seven hours of daylight :-) I looked at a map and the most southern part of Sweden is almost the same as the most southern part of Alaska (and I live in the northern part of southern Sweden).
    Christer.

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  7. A beautiful meal! I owe Tramp 1 a steak dinner before his shoulder surgery next week... After that, I think I will have to feed him his meals!

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  8. We are having steaks tomorrow night. I'm going to try this.
    Mary

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  9. Thanks for the lesson in sous vide cooking.This will be a great asset here at the bed & breakfast!
    That sirloin and spicy potatoes made me so hungry, simply delicious

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  10. Christina: It's the food of Gods! (BTW: I keep getting returned mail when trying to post to your site. It sure is strange.)

    Krista: I love to put extra food up, but always feel like I'm eating leftovers in the first 3 months of the year -- go figure...

    Jencrafted: By all means, take a class whenever you can. I just love the results and the savings.

    Christer: Based on where you live, I can't imagine your using a solar oven more than the summer months or however long you have a high sun during the mid-day. I might just have to mail you CARE packages!

    2Tramps: Well, you both will probably need the steak dinner to get through next week!

    Mary: If you're going to use the bags in the conventional oven, I wouldn't go over 300F or use the convection alternative. They could pop in that dry heat. But, do try it. You'll love it!

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  11. I've never heard of this idea before, I really must look into it

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  12. Ooooh this looks soooooo DELICIOUS!!!

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  13. Hear Mum Roar: Thanks for stopping by. Please come back often to follow this method of cooking. Would love to have you.

    Fifi Flowers: (That name is to die for!) Thank you. Come back for some more goodies when you can.

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  14. This is a very interesting site. The content is very informative and I am so glad that I dropped by. Thanks!

    ______________________________
    Virginia Beach Roofing

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  15. Because so many people are aware photo voltaic cooking is a durable pursuit favoured by survivalists and off the main grid specialists around the world. Clearly a minimalistic way coupled with a dogged determination to cook in however, almost all of extreme circumstances would exclude all but the most serious of solar chefs, right? Wrong!

    ReplyDelete
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