Steak sous vide with corn-jalapeno hash

On night two of our great sous vide experiment, I decided to try using sous vide in a way that just about every contestant on Top Chef seemingly has used: steak sous vide.

The benefit of sous vide cooking is since the meat comes up to temperature gradually, it maintains the same doneness throughout the entire cut. On a hot grill, for example, only the middle will be at the perfect temperature; the rest will be overcooked.

The downside, however, is that a steak cooked sous vide will be missing out on the maillard reaction — the beautiful disruption of protein chains necessary to bring out the flavor of meat. So, it’s a multi-step process to create a good sous vide steak: cook it in a water bath, then sear it in a hot pan.

I like my steak medium-rare, and Jessie likes hers medium-well. Unfortunately, from what little I know about sous vide cooking, you can’t easily and consistently cook steaks to two different temperatures in the same water bath.

With sous vide, the technique is to set the temperature of the water bath at the temperature you want the inside of the steak, then put it (vacuum-packed in plastic, of course) in the water bath long enough to bring it to temperature.

I set the temperature of the water bath at 74 C, which should result in a medium-well steak. Unfortunately the steak was a little too close to well done. I’d probably set it at 70 C when I try this again.

Here’s what I used:

  • Two 6 ounce petite sirloin steaks
  • A few slices of white onion
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn
  • 1/4 cup jalapenos (pickled or fresh), finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • Peanut oil
  • Half of a lemon

Here’s what I did:

  1. Season the steaks generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Place half of a sprig each of rosemary and thyme on each steak, as well as several pieces of onion. Seal in an airtight bag.
  2. Place in a 70 (for medium) or 74 (for well done) water bath for 90 minutes.
  3. Near the end of the steaks’ turn in the water bath, cook the bacon and set aside, reserving the fat.
  4. Cook the chopped shallots in the bacon fat until translucent. Add the frozen corn and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the chopped jalapenos and cook for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat. Stir in butter to melt and the chopped bacon. Keep warm.
  6. When the steaks are finished in the water bath, remove from the plastic and discard the plastic, onion slices and herbs.
  7. Heat up some peanut oil until nearly smoking hot in a pan (I use stainless steel to get a better sear). Sear each side of the steak until golden brown.
  8. Plate the steak on top of a mound of the corn-jalapeno mash. Drizzle a teaspoon or so of freshly-squeezed lemon juice over the steak and hash. The acid from the lemon juice is a great finish to any steak — it helps bring out the flavor.

Related posts:

  1. Fried sous vide egg yolk salad
  2. Fresh take on grilled corn: Tequila
  3. Easy steak in brown ale sauce
  4. Sweet corn with pea shoots
  5. Foil-baked potatoes on the grill

About the Author

Owner of a graphic design firm specializing in magazine design and wannabe chef. Former resident of Belgium, the United Kingdom and...North Dakota.