For those who don’t remember, last month CookingCaveman.com was selected as one of 12 paleo bloggers to participate in the Paleo Recipe Showdown contest sponsored by TX Bar Organics and SousVide Supreme. I was VERY honored to be asked, along with some other paleo bloggers I admire and respect. The rules are, I have to create an original paleo recipe using TX Bar Organics 100% Grass Fed, Grass Finished Beef, and I have to cook it in a SousVide Supreme. For those that don’t know, sous vide is a French method of slow cooking food, sealed in an airtight plastic bag, in a warm water bath. They sent me a SousVide Supreme as a loaner, and a vacuum sealer for keep-sies (for real-sies!).
I looked at what’s in season right now in Los Angeles, and oranges are king of the farmers market right now. So I decided on a sweet ‘n spicy Thai/Chinese Orange Beef, served over a bed of zucchini noodles, mixed with other in-season veggies. Let’s get to it!
I never used a SousVide Supreme before, so I watched the instructional video and read the manual carefully. Some things take longer than others to cook, so I had to plan carefully to make it all come out at the same time. First, I vacuum packed some broccoli florets.
I could have sautéd them, but I wanted to cook as much of this meal as I could with the SousVide Supreme. Broccoli goes really well with beef, especially in Asian cooking! I wanted to soften them up just a bit, but still retain a bit of a crunch. The cooking guide recommends cooking broccoli at 183 degrees fahrenheit for 45 minutes. But I wanted to cook the beef at 120 degrees (more on this later), so I set the SousVide Supreme for 120, and dropped the broccoli in first. I just let it soak while I prepped the rest of the meal, in no rush to make sure they didn’t get too mushy, because if my calculations were right, they’d come out perfect at the end of the cooking (they did!).
The night before I made the sauce/marinade. It consisted of fresh squeezed orange juice, coconut aminos, garlic, ginger, scallions, cilantro, lime juice, orange zest, dry mustard, honey, black pepper, and crushed chili flakes (aka crushed red pepper flakes).
If you don’t want the sea salt in coconut aminos, then I have a stricter paleo substitute of dark brewed black tea, lime juice, celery or chard (for the natural salt content), and a touch of honey.
I took a third of the sauce and marinated the beef in it overnight. TX Bar Organics were nice enough to send me several cuts, so I picked a filet mignon (my favorite), and a sirloin, just in case I screwed one of them up (I didn’t). When I was ready to cook the beef, I had to pat it VERY dry before vacuum packing. Otherwise, the vacuum will suck all the liquid out of the bag, and it will go all over the vacuum sealer, causing a mess, and possibly an electrical fire, never a good thing while cooking dinner (although a burning house makes an excellent heat source for barbecuing). The filet was 2 inches thick, so it takes twice as long to cook as the 1 inch thick sirloin, so I dropped the filet into the SousVide Supreme first, and an hour later, I dropped the sirloin in. One hour later, the whole meal would be ready to take out of the SousVide Supreme (more on this later later).
While the broccoli and beef were taking a nice soak in their warm bath (like my grandfather taking a schvitz at the Russian baths in Brighton Beach), I made my zucchini noodles, and cut up my other veggies. If you’ve never seen how I make my zucchini noodles, here’s a little instructional video for you from my Cooking Caveman Channel on YouTube.
I couldn’t vacuum seal the zucchini noodles due to all the water that was being sucked straight out of the noodles themselves (that vacuum sealer is one heck of a sucker!), so I made them the old fashioned way, by sautéing them in a touch of coconut oil in my cast iron skillet. Once the noodles were soft, I let them cool (I did have plenty of time since sous vide cooking takes a while), and then wrapped them in cheese cloth, and squeezed until all the excess moisture was gone. I set them aside for the final step later (I’m proud of you, you’re being very patient, but trust me, mouth-watering pics are coming soon to reward your patience).
Now I cut up some other veggies, that I intended to add practically raw, to give the dish a nice crunch and freshness. I cut up some red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, as well as some more scallions, and fresh cilantro. I set that all aside for the last step too.
In a sauce pan, I took the extra sauce that I marinated the meat in, and turned up the heat on the stove! While continually stirring, to prevent burning, I caramelized the sauce into a thick glaze. It was very reminiscent of the gloopy orange sauce you get on General Tso’s Chicken, only mine didn’t have any corn starch or msg!
When the timer went off, I took all three bags out of the SousVide Supreme and it was time to sear the meat. The instructional video mentions that sous vide cooking won’t brown meat, so you have to sear it right before serving. I heated up my cast iron skillet on a high flame! At 120 degrees fahrenheit, I cooked the beef to come out a perfect rare. My theory was, that if I cook it rare, then when I sear it, it will turn out a perfect medium rare, which is how I like it (funny, the longer I eat paleo, the more rare I like my meat. I used to be a medium well guy, now I’m medium rare all the way).
I dipped the beef into the glaze, added some coconut oil to my skillet, and seared each side until they had a gorgeous sear on each side. Then I dipped them back into the glaze, and set the steaks aside to rest.
I added the rest of the sauce into the glaze pan, and stirred the remaining glaze back into the sauce, scraping up any bits of glaze from the bottom as I went. The glaze thickened the sauce ever so slightly, which is the consistency I was going for.
Now back to the cast iron skillet, on medium heat, I added in the zucchini noodles, the broccoli, the raw veggie mix, and all the sauce, just to heat it all up, and coat thoroughly. Once it was hot enough, I plated it, sliced up the steak, layered it on top, and served! You want to see what a PERFECT medium rare looks like? Here’s the sirloin (if viewing from CookingCaveman.com, click on the picture to enlarge):
The SousVide Supreme is really supreme at controlling the meat’s temperature! I’m not sure I ever got closer than this to medium rare before using more conventional cooking methods. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Here’s the filet mignon:
I felt like a king, eating this decadent cut of beef in a stir-fry type of dish. The filet didn’t have much fat on it (no grass-fed beef really has THAT much fat on it), but I managed to include a slice near the end that had a layer of that wonderful omega-3 rich fat that only wild free-roaming animals contain. So rich in flavor, and so good for you (despite what misinformed low-fat dietitians claim)!
The whole dish had a very light feel to it, which I wanted because beef is so hearty. The sauce wasn’t too thick, except for the glazed part that coated the meat. And one of the best things about this meal, it tastes just as good cold the next day, as it does heated up! Cold beef noodle salad, YUM!
I want to thank TX Bar Organics and SousVide Supreme for including me in this contest, I had a lot of fun playing around with sous vide cooking, and I really enjoyed eating their delicious grass fed beef! Anytime you want to send me more free beef, I’m all for it! Caveman like free stuff! Ugga-Bugga!
I’ll let you know how I do when the judges announce the winners. There’s a fan favorite award too, so visit the contest websites to figure out how to vote:
Paleo Orange Beef Noodles (all ingredients, all organic, all the time)
0.5 lb. grass fed steak
1 1/2 cups of fresh squeezed orange juice
4 tbsp. coconut aminos
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
2-3 scallions, sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 cup of raw honey
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. crushed chili flakes (adjust for desired spiciness)
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 cup of broccoli florets
2-4 zucchini squash
1/4 cup of red bell pepper
1/4 cup of yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup of orange bell pepper
Make sauce by combining orange juice, coconut aminos, garlic, ginger, half the scallions, half the cilantro, lime juice, orange zest, dry mustard, honey, black pepper, and crushed chili flakes. Take one third of the sauce and marinate steak for anywhere from 1 to 24 hours.
Vacuum seal broccoli and drop bag into SousVide Supreme at 120 degrees fahrenheit. Continue preparing the rest of the meal.
Remove steak from marinade and pat VERY dry. Vacuum seal and drop bag into SousVide Supreme alongside bag of broccoli. If steak is 1 inch thick, cook for one hour at 120 degrees for rare (final cooking with bring steak to medium rare). Add 1 hour for every added inch of thickness.
While cooking, cut zucchini into noodles using a spiral slicer. If you don’t have a spiral slicer, use a vegetable peeler. Sauté zucchini in 1 tbsp. of the coconut oil, until soft. Let cool, and wrap in cheesecloth. Squeeze out any excess moisture.
Dice bell peppers and add to a bowl along with remaining scallions and cilantro. Set aside.
In a separate sauce pan, take the one third of the sauce used as marinade and heat on high, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Keep stirring until marinade becomes a thick glaze. Remove from heat.
When cooking time is done, remove food from bags.
In a hot skillet, add remaining coconut oil. Take steak and dip into glaze, then sear in skillet until browned evenly on each side. Re-dip seared steak into glaze, and set aside to rest.
Add remaining sauce to the glaze pan and deglaze, scrapping glaze off the bottom, and mixing evenly.
In the skillet on medium or low heat, add sauce, noodles, broccoli, and bell peppers, scallions, and cilantro. Toss until everything is evenly coated and hot. Plate.
Slice steak, and layer on top of noodles.