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Rib eye steak sous vide with peppercorn wine demi-glace

One of the reasons I like sous vide cooking is that it's ideal for preparing food ahead and freezing. I often cook for one, so this saves a lot of effort, but it's just as useful for families with busy evening schedules.

The traditional way of making a steak sous vide is to put it in the vacuum bag seasoned but raw, then finish it off on the grill, broiler, or a sauté pan. This is a perfectly reasonable method of preparation, however I prefer this alternate technique for meals prepared ahead.

Season a steak. I made a 3/4" thick rib-eye seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a bit of cayenne pepper. One of the great things about sous vide cooking a steak is that you can get thicker cuts of meat and still have them perfectly done all the way through.

Grill it over very high heat for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side until seared with nice grill marks. Put the steak in a vacuum bag but do not seal it yet. Put it in an ice bath (34°F) until chilled. You want to get the meat out of the danger zone (40°F to 140°F) as quickly as possible. You'll probably want to clip the bag to the edge of the ice bath to prevent it from falling in, since it's not sealed yet.

Remove from the ice bath and freeze for at least two hours. Add a small amount of butter to the bag, then vacuum seal. This is necessary with an external vacuum sealer to avoid sucking all of the juices out of the bag.

At this point, the beauty of this process is that you can just leave the steak in the freezer until you're ready to cook it days or weeks later. Or you can take it out and sous vide it right away.

A 1" thick steak should cook in about an half hour at 132°F from refrigerator temperature. Mine was thinner but partially frozen so it would probably take about the same length of time to cook through. I ended up cooking it for nearly an hour while preparing the sauce and sides with no ill effect, however. That's the beauty of sous vide!

I prepared the rest of the sides (mashed potatoes and broccoli) and the peppercorn sauce and served everything.

Peppercorn sauce

1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns, cracked

1 oz. butter (1/4 stick)

1 small shallot, minced

4 oz. red wine

¾ oz. More than Gourmet demi-glace gold 4 oz. hot water

Put the whole black peppercorns in a plastic zip bag and beat with a mallet until cracked, but not as fine as ground pepper.

Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Add the minced shallots and sauté for 2-3 minutes until soft but not browned.

Meanwhile, add a ¾ oz. (half of a small 1.5 oz. package) of the demi-glace concentrate to 4 oz. of hot water in another container and dissolve, stirring occasionally. This can be done using hot water from a teapot, in the microwave, etc.

Add the cracked peppercorns to the shallot and butter mixture.

Add the red wine to and increase the heat to high. Reduce until most of the liquid is gone, several minutes.

Add the demi-glace to the wine and shallot mixture and reduce again.

The leftovers were also very good reheated in the sous vide machine.

Based on this recipe: http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/steak.htm

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