When it comes to cooking, there are more cookbooks, TV shows, culinary lesson plans and how-to’s than one can swallow, but sometimes someone puts together just the right amount of instruction, making cooking seem far more exciting and less daunting. Chef Justice Stewart’s is a chef who sees cooking as a natural part of our day-to-day and his brand new cookbook, Mastering the Art of Sous Vide Cooking, breaks down one of the age-old methods of temperature controlled cooking using sous vide. With a guide to whet your appetite, we caught up with Justice to share a few recipes and get some tips.
With a passion for cooking and making the process seamless, what are the most interesting ingredients you put together in your new cookbook?
Some of the more interesting recipes are the Veal Roulades with Juniper butter, Drunken Rose Red Snapper (poached in Asian rose wine), and the Surf & Turf Sichuan Meatballs, which is a combination of pork and fresh oysters.
For those novices out there afraid to invest in the proper equipment, what makes the investment well worth it?
Preparing food sous vide is not such an expensive way to cook anymore. The home cook can get a device under $150 nowadays, and they are sold in mainstream stores such as Amazon and Target. The benefits you receive make it totally worth the effort. You will prepare perfectly cooked meals, maintain the nutrients of the food, and you can prepare many items in advance for friends and family during dinner parties.
What country would you love to go explore food in?
The top 3 countries where I would love to do a food tour are (in order) #1 Thailand, #2 France, #3 China (Sichuan Province).
When I was growing up, eating boiled or stir-fried cabbage was the norm in our household. Cooking the cabbage wedges sous vide helps this standard side maintain flavor and a firm tenderness.
Cook time: 4 hours
2 tsp (6 g) roasted garlic paste, divided
2 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp (30 ml) water
2 -lb (1.13-kg) head of green cabbage, cut into wedges
3 tbsp (42 g) unsalted butter
Preheat the water bath to 183°F (83.8°C).
Put the roasted garlic paste, thyme, water and cabbage in a vacuum bag and seal. Place it into water bath and cook for 4 hours, then remove it and allow the bag to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
Carefully remove the cabbage wedges from the bag so they retain their wedge shape and discard the rest of the contents. Heat the butter in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat until the butter is foaming.
Season the wedges with salt and black pepper and place them cut side down into the pan. Cook the wedges, without moving them, 3 to 4 minutes per side until brown and caramelized. Remove the cabbage to four plates and serve.
Lamb Shanks with Garlic Mashed Potatoes
4 lamb shanks, about 1 lb
(455 g) each
2 tsp (12 g) dried onion flakes
2 tsp (12 g) dried garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
½ cup (120 ml) olive oil
4 tbsp (56 g) butter, divided
1 large onion, chopped
3 tbsp (24 g) all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup (180 ml) beef stock
1 tbsp (15 ml) red wine vinegar
¾ cup (180 ml) full-bodied red wine
Preheat the water bath to 143°F (61.6°F). Season the shanks with salt and pepper. In each of two bags put two lamb shanks, 1 teaspoon (6 g) each of dried onion and garlic flakes, ½ teaspoon each of dried thyme and oregano and ¼ cup (60 ml) of olive oil. Place the bags into the water bath and cook for 48 hours.
Prepare the gravy 30 minutes before removing the lamb. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the 1 tablespoon (14 g) of butter then add the onions. Cook the onions for 3 minutes until they soften. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons (42 g) of butter to the pan and whisk until melted. Pour in the flour and continue whisking until the mixture is light brown in color. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant, then add the beef stock, vinegar and red wine. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer.
Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until it thickens. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and keep warm. Remove the bags from the water bath and allow to cool for 10 minutes before opening them. Remove the lamb from the bags and discard the remaining contents (see Note). Carefully place the lamb shanks into a large roasting pan or sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels. Place the pan under a broiler for 4 to 5 minutes until browned. If using a kitchen torch, brown the meat with a high heat setting while constantly moving the flame to avoid burning the meat or creating an unpleasant flavor.
Serve with mashed potatoes.
Sous vide cook time: 45 minutes
Preheat the water bath to 194ºF degrees. Add the sliced potatoes, thyme, butter, roasted garlic and heavy cream into a vacuum bag and seal it. Place it into the sous vide bath and cook for 45 minutes.
Remove the bag fromt he sous vide bath cut open one side and strain the liquid into a bowl. Discard the thyme sprig. Process the potatoes and roasted garlic with a food mill or potato masher until they are fully smashed, then stir in the reserved liquid until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with garnished chopped onion.
Cheesecake can be a very decadent dessert, but when it’s topped with a sweet and tart berry sauce, it ramps it up to a whole new level! Using Mason jars in a gentle water bath makes the whole process so easy.
Cook time: 90 minutes
Cracker Crust (see Note)
2 tbsp (28 g) butter
2 tsp (8 g) sugar
1 cup (30 g) graham cracker or vanilla wafer crumbs, crushed
16 oz (455 g) cream cheese, softened
. cup (100 g) white sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 large eggs
. tsp vanilla extract
. cup (120 ml) heavy cream
12 oz (340 g) frozen
. cup (150 g) granulated sugar
. cup (120 ml) + 2 tbsp
(30 ml) water, divided
. tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp (6 g) cornstarch
3–4 fresh strawberries, diced
1 tbsp (14 g) unsalted butter
Preheat the water bath to 176°F (80°C) while you prepare the batter and crust. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Melt the butter in a medium skillet over low heat then add in the sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved into the butter. Remove the butter mixture from the heat and add the graham cracker or vanilla wafer crumbs, tossing until well coated.
Spread the crumbs evenly across the bottom of the skillet then place it in the oven. The crumbs will become toasted in about 10 minutes; keep checking to avoid burning. Remove the skillet from the oven, transfer the crumb mixture onto a cool plate and set aside. Place the softened cream cheese, sugar and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth, stopping occasionally to use the spatula to scrape down the sides of the blender bowl. Add the eggs and the vanilla extract to the mixture and blend until smooth, then add the heavy cream and blend another 2 minutes, making sure no lumps remain.
Spoon 1 tablespoons (11 g) of cooled graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of each Mason jar, making sure to it spread evenly. Fill each jar slowly with approximately 4 ounces (115 ml) of batter, leaving enough space for your berry topping. Seal the jars (see Sous Vide Basics, page xx) and, using canning tongs, carefully lower the jars into the water. They are sealed properly if you see a few small bubbles escape the jars. Cook for 90 minutes. While this happens, prepare the sauce.
In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the frozen raspberries, the sugar and cup (120 ml) of water until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often, then reduce heat and add the vanilla. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of water and whisk until incorporated.
Pour the cornstarch slurry into the hot raspberry mixture and bring it back to a boil. Stir and boil over medium-low heat for 4 minutes or until the mixture has thickened a bit.
Strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl to remove the seeds. Pour the sauce back into the pan, add the diced strawberries and simmer for 5 minutes until the strawberries soften. Remove from the heat and add the butter, stirring until it melts. Allow the mixture to cool for 20 to 30 minutes.
Using canning tongs, remove the cheesecakes from the water and set on the counter until they cool, about 30 minutes. Open each jar and top the cheesecake with 2 tablespoons (30ml) of the cooled berry mixture, seal tightly and place in the refrigerator overnight or at least 8 hours before serving.
CHEF JUSTICE STEWART
A passionate cook and Queens-born New Yorker, Stewart takes curious home cooks and experienced chefs on a culinary adventure, paying tribute to the sous vide cooking method invented by a physicist named Benjamin Thompson in 1799. Sous vide was a mistake, but that happy accident continues to influence chefs and cooks around the world. With fond memories of fishing with his father, Stewart reminisces about how the smell of freshly caught fish bathed in batter and fried in oil inspired a lifelong culinary adventure, including learning the art of sous vide. The cookbook explores simple, versatile precision temperature cooking methods utilizing gourmet techniques. It’s a delightful addition to any food lover’s collection.