Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fillet of horse sous vide

It has been kind of hectic lately, finishing the thesis, preparing for the dissertation, getting a mortgage for buying a new place to live in Sweden, working full time in the cardiology department and revising two papers.

Anyway, my fiancée got a job on Wednesday and by Friday we had outbid the competition for our dream-apartment. Or, a nice apartment anyway. So, today we were celebrating. She brought a Veuve Clicqout Ponsardin from the air-port and I went to the butcher's and got a slice of horse's fillet.

Horse is a dark, game-like, meat. Like any red meat it shouldn't be cooked to harshly, and this was so tender that I accidentally put my thumb through it when I was preparing it. So, cooking with care was the order of the day.

I have been reading a lot Cooking Issues since I was made aware of it. It is a fantastic cooking blog, especially if you are scientifically minded. Anyway, they do sous vide (eng. under vacuum) cooking, which is slow cooking with a twist. You vacuum-pack your uncooked food and then cook it in a water-bath at the desired temperature (58 centigrade for medium rare beef) for an hour or two.

First, I seared it quickly with salt and pepper.

Since I don't have a vacuum-pump at home I just packed it in a plastic bag with red onions and garlic, sucked all the air out, and put it in a pot with water in the oven. The goal temperature is 58 centigrade for medium rare. Sadly my cooking thermometer is broken and the oven temperature dial is not as accurate as I would wish. Thus, I checked the temperature the old fashioned way, 58 is hot enough to hurt, but not scalding. I put a small weight on top to keep it under. It was allowed to cook for about two hours. Then I seared it once more and served directly.

The temperature wasn't exact enough and we ended up with a medium cooked piece of meat. It was a very tender, fantastically juicy and tasty piece of meat though. Any time now, I am going to buy a proper heater/circulator like the Sous vide professional, which is made especially for cooking sous vide. It does look very much like your standard scientific water-bath heater/circulator and that is because it is. Although, they have a prettier, black, casing for the cooking variant.

If you have meat, you need potatoes. In this case a spring potatoe & melon salad. The sweetness works fantastically with the dark horse-meat and the champagne.

For a sauce I made a classic reduction of assorted vegetables and the juices pressed out of the meat during cooking. I reused the root-vegetables to make a purée, nothing much by itself, but adds a nice extra texture to the meal.

Here are the vegetables, the rosemary and the juniper-berries before they were transformed into stock with the help of some gin and a lot of water.

And there we are: Horse-fillet sous vide with mashed celeriac and turnip. A potato and melon salad, sauce and champagne. I served it with a little balsamic syrup to add some acidity.


  1. looks fantastic. read the whole cooking process. I would love to try this if i can find some in canada.

  2. very nice pics.
    But I think 58C for "medium rare" beef is too much, I guess medium is 55-56C and medium rare is 53C.
    Regards, Tom

  3. Hello Again.
    I finally bought horse fillet and prepared it sous vide. I have chosen temperature 55C for first 12-15hrs and when I noticed the flesh relases juices I decreased temp to 54C.
    after few more hours decided to take it out from the waterbath, take the meat from the bag, save the juices (to reduct them to make sauce). I put the meat to oven set at 200C for 7 minutes. The meat has around 0,8kg and was 5cm thick. After taking it out from oven the cut had to wait 3-4mins and then decided to cut into thick slices. When I cut it for the first time I realised I can eat it not by knife but by spoons!
    It was fantastic, the inner part was juicy and noble pink, great respect for such fantastic meat like horse one.
    I invited my friend who was eating horse meat for first time in his life and it was sous vide horse!
    Regards, Tom