How to Save Money with Sous-Vide

Equipment for cooking sous-vide does not come cheap. But after making the initial investment, you can save money by buying cheaper cuts of meat without anyone being able to tell the difference. To put this theory into practice, I made Rosa di Parma using beef brisket instead of beef tenderloin. Rosa di Parma is a gourmet dish that is great for impressing your guests at a dinner party. It is a roulade of beef with prosciutto, parmigiano, garlic, and rosemary. It has great flavor, tender beef, and looks nice on the plate.

The one drawback of this dish is that beef tenderloin is expensive. Here in the Netherlands the price of brisket (“puntborst”) is only about a quarter of the price of beef tenderloin (“ossenhaas”). Apart from a longer cooking time (48 hours at 57C/135F), the preparation is identical to a preparation with beef tenderloin. The main point is that with sous-vide you can make Rosa di Parma either with beef tenderloin or brisket, whereas without sous-vide you can’t make Rosa di Parma from a brisket.

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I did not do a side by side comparison, but I’ve made Rosa di Parma from beef tenderloin on a regular basis for years, so I remember quite well what it is like. And I must say that the brisket version is very similar to the tenderloin version. The main difference is that you can cook the tenderloin more to the rare side of medium rare, as the minimum temperature to get tender brisket is at 57C/135F rather than 55C/131F for the tenderloin.

Ingredients

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For 4 servings

600 grams (1.3 lbs) beef brisket, trimmed, butterflied, and pounded to 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) thickness

enough prosciutto di parma to cover the butterflied brisket (about 50 grams/2 oz)

freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and freshly ground black pepper

extra virgin olive oil

80 ml (1/3 cup) marsala

80 ml (1/3 cup) red wine

clarified butter (or olive oil)

1 tsp cornstarch

Preparation

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Arrange the meat with the cut side up. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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Mix the rosemary and garlic with 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Rub the meat with about 2/3 of this mixture.

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Cover with prosciutto and sprinkle with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.

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Roll the meat up tightly. Roll it up such that the slices you will be cutting from the roulade will be cut ‘against the grain’.

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You can make this look prettier if you like, but I didn’t bother 😉

Secure with kitchen string.

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Rub the roulade with the remaining rosemary mixture and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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Vacuum seal.

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Cook sous-vide for 48 hours at 57C/135F.

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Catch the juices from the bag in a saucepan. Mix a teaspoon of cornstarch with a teaspoon of cold water in a small bowl until smooth, and add this to the juices. Then stir well.

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Pat the roulade dry with paper towels and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

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Brown the roulade quickly in a very hot frying pan with some clarified butter or olive oil. Clarified butter gives better browning without the splashing. The meat is already cooked through, so only cook it very briefly to give it some color and flavor.

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Wrap the meat in aluminum foil to keep it warm while you make the sauce.

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Deglaze the pan with the marsala…

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…and the red wine. Add the reserved juices from the bag as well.

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Cook the sauce over medium heat until thickened.

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Slice the meat and remove the kitchen string.

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Serve on warm plates with the sauce.

Wine pairing

As with the regular Rosa di Parma, this is great with Barolo or other high-end Italian reds such as Brunello.

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21 thoughts on “How to Save Money with Sous-Vide

  1. I agree wholeheartedly, after my four months of playing with sous vide. It’s really not worth sous vide-ing any tender cuts, but it’s so worth using it for brisket! And there is the sous vide demi, which I purchased which has a much lower price tag.

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        1. I can’t remember if I ever tried tuna, so I look forward to your results!
          Please try salmon at 109F. It’s simply amazing.

          Fish only needs to cook as long as is needed to bring the whole thing up to temperature, which depends on the thickness. 10 minutes for thin fillets, 30 minutes for an inch thick.

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  2. – Chef Stefan, you should be teaching on TV! You are a hidden treasure!
    – A few weeks ago, I made braciole according to an Italian recipe. It did not taste like something I will recommend to anyone, let alone post it. The mixture of breadcrumb, cheese, herbs/spices and the thick tomato sauce were not delectable, any part of it. I love your this roulade meat.
    – I have a question… I don’t like rosemary or any strong herb (neither do the people around me). Are these herbs absolutely necessary? What herb(s) would you recommend/substitute which adds refreshing subtle taste and does not compromise the meat’s flavor?
    Thank you, Fae.

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      1. Thank you, Stefan! I just saw your post. It looks different and substantially better than the other recipe I used. I like all the ingredients you used and no breadcrumbs! I will make your recipe with beef (I don’t think I will find horse meat here).

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  3. This does look delicious, Stefan, and I’m sure you’re right when you say that sous-vide allows one to use cheaper cuts of meat. Though I find the cost of the machine to be a bit high, it’s the associated costs that I fear most. With so little storage space in a kitchen already brimming with small appliances, I’d need to remodel in order to find a place for one. 🙂

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    1. I see what you mean and there are some appliances that I haven’t acquired (not yet anyway…) for the same reason. By the way, you could put the sous-vide in an out-of-the-way place (e.g. on the floor if you have a spot where it’s not in the way) as you only need to access it to put bagged food in there and take it out again.

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  4. Stefan, I always love reviewing your technique. It’s always spot on. It appears you used the trimmed flat of the brisket given its leanness. Am I correct? I love brisket meat. It has tons of flavor. This is a definite must try in the next couple of months. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Richard. Dutch beef is always very lean. It was definitely trimmed, as the fat will not render at such a low temperature. The prosciutto adds some ‘marbling’. Would love to hear how this turns out for you!

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  5. Recently tried this after receiving a bunch of beef from my parents recently departed cow 🙂 I pretty much followed the instructions exactly, except I didn’t quite have 48 hours, so I went 36 hours at 145. I’m new to sous vide but have been smoking meat for years and, if I do say so myself, have quite a reputation with my friends as giving many chefs a good run for their money. I’m not saying that to toot my own horn but to let anyone know that reads this review, my standards are pretty darn high. If I bother to cook, I want it it to be as near perfect as can be.

    I said ALL that to say this… after cooking this for a friends birthday party, most everyone there said this was the best brisket they’d ever had in their life. And… I have to agree. If you have a sous vide cooker and you’re wondering about brisket… TRY THIS RECIPE. You won’t regret it.

    Thank you very much for posting this.

    Liked by 1 person

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