Sous Vide Jalapeno Infused Tequila

Sous Vide Jalapeno Infused Tequila

I know how to make hot pepper infused tequila - why should I get all modernist and cook it sous vide?

Because, when I want spicy tequila, I want it as soon as possible. Regular infused tequila needs to steep overnight; by adding gentle heat, I can have spicy tequila ready in under an hour.

And, it’s easier to vary the amount of heat. I found 45 minutes at 135°F to be the perfect amount of time - it transfers the jalapeno taste and the right amount of spicy heat. If you want the jalapeno flavor with just a bit of heat, infuse the tequila for 30 minutes; if you want to blast your taste buds, infuse it for an hour, extracting all the heat from the peppers.

Most sous vide infusion recipes recommend pouring the alcohol into a gallon zip-top bag, but I found that unwieldy. And by “unwieldy”, I mean “I spilled tequila everywhere when the bag slipped.” A quart jar is much easier to deal with; it is the right size for a standard 750ml bottle of liquor.

Oh, and one other thing - what type of tequila? You want 100% agave, sliver or blanco tequila. If the label doesn’t say 100% agave, it can be up to 49% cheaper liquor - not good. Pay a few dollars extra for the 100% agave tequila. Don’t get “gold” tequila - it’s silver tequila with food coloring added to give it an amber color.

On the other end of the spectrum are reposado (rested) and anjeo (aged) tequila. They are aged in the barrel to add more complex flavors, and you pay more for the quality. Normally, aging is a good thing, but I find that the jalapeno infusion overwhelms the delicate aged flavors. I prefer the clean flavor of a silver tequila with the heat of the jalapeno.

Recipe: Sous Vide Jalapeno Infused Tequila

PicOfTheWeek: Gnawing on a Tomahawk Chop Bone

Gnawing on a Tomahawk Chop Bone

My favorite part of bone-in ribeye is gnawing on the bone. And, oh, what a bone on a tomahawk chop... (Recipe coming soon.)

Sous Vide Duck Two Ways - Duck Breast and Duck Leg Confit

Sous Vide Duck Two Ways - Duck Breast and Duck Leg Confit

Cooking duck is a trade off. Duck breast is a tender red meat, and I want it cooked to a rosy pink medium. Duck legs are full of tough connective tissue, and should be cooked past well done, until they are tender and shreddable.

This is impossible on a whole duck. When I roast a duck, I aim to cook the legs and crisp up the skin, and live with overcooked breast. This results in a good duck - the duck fat keeps he duck breast moist, even if it is overcooked. But when I want duck perfection, I break the duck down and cook the legs separately from the breast. That lets me cook each properly - long, low and slow for the legs; a quick saute for the breast.

Can I use Sous Vide cooking to improve on perfection? Of course, or we wouldn’t be talking right now.

I start with the legs, cooking them confit style, with an overnight salting and ten hours in the water bath to tenderize. Then I drop the heat to a perfect medium, add the duck breasts, and cook them for two hours. (The legs stay in the water bath, keeping them warm while the breasts finish.) A quick sear in a hot pan gives me crackling duck skin.

And there you have it - perfect Sous Vide duck, two ways.

Though I have to confess, as much as I love duck breast, it pales in comparison to tender shreds of duck leg confit. If you skip the duck breast portion of the recipe and cook extra duck legs, I won’t blame you.

*Special thanks to Maple Leaf Farms for the wonderful duck!*

Recipe: Sous Vide Duck Two Ways - Duck Breast and Duck Leg Confit

Summer Vacation 2014

I'm off to the beach for a week's vacation on the shores of Lake Erie. See you soon!

PicOfTheWeek: Vacuum Sealing Carrots for Sous Vide

Vacuum Sealing Carrots for Sous Vide

Got a bunch of baby carrots in my CSA box this week - time to try some Sous Vide carrots.