Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin


Andi gave me a fun toy earlier in the year:  a sous vide cooker.  It’s a metal cylinder that you stick into a pot of water, and it heats the water to whatever temperature you set, and keeps it there, circulating the water around to keep it constant.  I had tried the cooker with corn and green beans, and the results were good, but not a lot better than just cooking the vegetables in a pot of boiling water and getting them out at the right time.  There is also more effort involved because you have to put the veggies in a plastic zip bag and get all the air out of the bag, which is impossible.  If you don’t get the air out, the bags will float to the top and that air will make the heating less efficient.

I decided to try what people say is the best application for sous vide cooking: lean meat that easily dries out, like pork tenderloin.  I have made pork tenderloin before, and while it was pretty good, it was never amazing.  I followed this recipe, which calls for just some herbs, garlic, salt and pepper, and the pork tenderloin.  I put the tenderloins in zip bags with the aforementioned ingredients, and a spoon in each to help keep the bags from floating.  The spoons help.  They make gravity your friend when you are trying to get the air out of a bag.  If I every try sous vide veggies again I will use the spoon trick.  I set the water temperature to 140F and let the pork cook for a few hours.  How may hours?  About 3, but the neat thing with sous vide is you have a lot of flexibility on time.  The recipe actually calls for 1 to 4 hours of cooking.

When the rest of my dinner was done, I took out the pork and seared it in a hot pan to get the nice browning you see in the picture above.  I made a pan sauce that turned out to be completely unnecessary, except as a flavoring for some green beans.  This is what the pork looked like on the inside.  This is the end piece, but that was what it looked like throughout.  It was fully cooked, but pink and juicy.

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This was easily the best pork tenderloin I have ever made or eaten.  It got an A+ from 2/3 of my panel of food critics.  I look forward to trying the sous vide machine with other lean meats to see if they also benefit from this fun toy.

That’s Why They Call Them Noms

Paris has its own Chinese food. It’s similar to, but not quite the same as American Chinese food. (I have never been to China, but have heard that they have Chinese food there, too.)

The most distinctively French Chinese delicacy is a kind of egg roll called a “nem.” It’s a small, crispy, bubbly, greasy roll filled with meat and who knows what that you wrap in mint leaves and green leaf lettuce, then dip into a thin sweet sauce and shove into your mouth. It’s messy and fun and has a nice mix of flavors and textures. That, says my older daughter, is why they call them noms. 

Diamant Rose, Blvd. Montparnasse