The idea for this one was really fun. We all picked some of our favorite food items - either local goods, or just things that we like, and we sent them to someone else in the group.
And then we were challenged to cook something using something we were sent.
Right off the bat, I decided that the Wicked Natural Caramel Mustard Dip sounded like fun. I could imagine dipping pretzels in it, but that wasn't quite enough of a recipe, so I decided to slather it on a pork roast. Twice.
I twice-cooked the roast - the first time using sous vide, and the second time I roasted it in the oven (after an overnight refrigerator nap) to warm it and brown it.
Caramel Mustard Roast Pork Loin
4(ish) pound pork loin
Wicked Natural Caramel & Mustard Dip
Coat the pork loin with a thin slather of the caramel mustard dip, place in a vacuum-sealer bag, then vacuum-seal it.
Place in the sous vide water set for 145 degrees, and cook for 6 hours. I'm still messing around with cooking times and temperatures to see what works best.
When the time's up, remove it from the sous vide and refrigerate. In theory you don't need to do this - just brown it and serve, but I find that it fits better into my schedule if I cook in two stages.
When you're ready to cook, heat the oven to 375 degrees, put the roast on a rack on a baking pan, and - from refrigerator temperature - roast for about an hour, slathering it with more caramel & mustard dip after it has cooked for 45 minutes.
If you're cooking straight out of the sous vide, slather it with the mustard caramel sauce and just cook until it's browned - the longer cooking time was required to get it warm after it was refrigerated.
Let the roast rest before slicing.
Let's talk about sous vide, shall we?
Contrary to what some folks believe, sous vide isn't about boiling food in a bag, like that freaky rice my mother used to make once in a while.
In fact, sous vide is about not boiling. The food is sealed in a bag, sometimes along with flavorings. Then it goes into a precisely controlled water bath. To keep the water - and the food in it - at a constant temperature, the sous vide device constantly monitors the temperature and heats the water as needed to keep the temperature steady. There's also a pump that gently circulates the water, so that there aren't hot spots and the food is always surrounded by water that is a consistent temperature.
There's some sciencey stuff that happens, but what's important to me is the results. The rib roasts I've made have been the most tender meat of that type I've ever cooked, so it's worth having this device just for that.
Early sous vide models were geared toward restaurants, and the first home models were pretty bulky, since they included tanks. The Anova model I have is just a big stick that attaches to a pot, so it doesn't take nearly as much storage space as the tank units.
I'm hooked, that's for sure.
Note: Since this post was published Anova came out with a new model with bluetooth and wireless. That's the model I use now, but the older model is fine, too.