Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin with Sherry-Shallot Vinaigrette

Here is my first post about my new Sous Vide Supreme.

Let me begin by saying that I've only used it six times so far (in two weeks), but already it's life changing. Sous-vide, French for "under vacuum," involves vacuum sealing food into plastic bags and cooking them at low temperatures for extended periods of time in a temperature controlled water bath. In concept, this method of cooking maintains the integrity of the ingredients due to the low temperatures.

A technique frequently used in fine dining settings (my Top Chef Brother does a ton of it, and is my chief culinary consultant in all things sous vide), it's only recently become affordable to the home chef thanks to the Sous Vide Supreme.

Lean meats (pork tenderloin, beef tenderloin) are the most clearly appropriate for sous vide cooking. Not only does it render them exceptionally tender and keep them moist, but it brings them to a perfect medium rare throughout. With sous vide, there is no risk of overcooking.

Cooking sous vide depends on two things—temperature and time.  To assist in learning this technique, I relied on blog posts, the cookbook "Sous Vide for the Home Cook," the temperature charts that came with the Sous Vide Supreme, and my Top Chef Brother's advice. The ubiquitous tomb, "Under Pressure" by Thomas Keller, is on its way (though I've heard it was written for professionals, but we'll see). More on this once I receive the book.

For my very first sous vide experiment, I decided to cook pork tenderloin and settled on a decadent technique. I decided to cook the pork with rendered bacon fat. Yup, you heard me right. I served the pork tenderloin over a bed of pearl barley and topped with a sherry-shallot vinaigrette, wanting to taste the meat. I was not disappointed! The pork was by far the best and most tender I've ever made. It literally dissolved in my mouth in a pool of bacon-flavored meat. This recipe was a winner.

Next week, following my Top Chef Brother's advice—I'll be trying another preparation of pork tenderloin that involves an apple cider brine, a sear, and then sous vide cooking the meat with bacon slices for flavor. I can't wait!

Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin with Sherry-Shallot Vinaigrette

Prep time: 15 minutes; Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves 4 people
Gluten-free; dairy-free


1 pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon dried garlic, ground
2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat, refrigerated or frozen until solid
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

sherry-shallot vinaigrette
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoon good extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and diced
salt and pepper


1. Preheat the Sous Vide Supreme to 135 to 140 degrees (depending on how well you want it cooked).

2. Meanwhile, rub the pork tenderloin with the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Place in a plastic bag with the rendered bacon fat. Vacuum seal the bag. Place in the Sous Vide Supreme and cook for at least 2 hours (but you may cook it for longer).

3. To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Once the pork has finished cooking in the Sous Vide Supreme, remove from the water bath. Heat the grapeseed oil over medium high heat in a saute pan. Cut open the bag and remove the pork. Quickly sear it on all sides and set aside. Allow it to rest for five minutes before cutting the tenderloin into half inch slices.

5. To plate, layer slices of pork on a plate and drizzle with the sherry-shallot vinaigrette. Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients
organic pork tenderloin, organic ground garlic, sherry vinegar and organic pearl barley from Whole Foods

organic shallots and olive oil from the Hollywood Farmers Market


  1. Are you really a Harvard grad ??

    "The ubiquitous tomb, "Under Pressure" by Thomas Keller, is on its way..."

    Tomb: "an excavation in earth or rock for the burial of a corpse"

    I believe the word you want is "tome"

    Tome: "a book, especially a very heavy, large, or learned book."

    University of Pennsylvania Grad

  2. University of Pennsylvania certainly gave you the ability to be a spell checker but did not teach you manners. This was a well written article with information presented in a way any person with a interest in this kind of cooking could understand. If you had looked closer you could have sent a personal E-MAIL about your concern. No, instead you take the low road and try to embarrass a Grad from Harvard maybe a little jealous of her schooling. The University of Pennsylvania and Harvard both only give a education not perfection. One other thing the comment area is supposed to be for a critic of the information presented not to embarrass belittle or show up the author! Not being a Graduate of any University I hope you can forgive my English skills?
    Now, This was well written with the right amount of information and pictures for anyone to follow this recipe. Just what I was looking for. I am looking forward to her next attempt with bacon and searing first.

  3. Jennifer, I've had my Sous Vide Supreme for a week but I agree, it's already life changing. It's crazy how perfect my steaks, scallops and chicken have been but it's crazier that sous vide cooking isn't more popular. The only negative I can think of but it's actually making me toss and turn at night: my food gets cold too quickly. I cook my steak at 128 degrees (in between rare and medium rare) and sear on my grill 500 degrees for 45 seconds per side. Before I eat two bites it's cold...perfectly cooked and tender but cold. The only remedy I know is to keep the grill on and warm up my steak half way thru. You've now had your Sous Vide Supreme for 18 months...what do you think now?

  4. I still love my Sous Vide Supreme and use it all the time!

    As for the temperature, I make sure to have everything prepped and plated before I sear the meat (the final step). So that way it goes from searing to table top to eating with no delay and is still warm.

    So much of cooking is timing everything out so it's all ready at the same time. Also, not having a delay between removing it from the water bath and searing it helps, too.

    Hope that helps and that you enjoye your Sous Vide Supreme!

  5. You might want to warm your plates at a low temp in your oven. Thats what restaurants do to insure warm food.

  6. Yup, or I also pop my plates in the microwave for a minute before plating to warm them. Great tip (that I always follow) but forgot about!

    Thanks for your comment!

  7. I'm looking forward to trying this recipe tonight... thank you so much!

    One note, though? Because of the barley it's not gluten-free. Wheat-free, maybe, but barley definitely contains gluten. I'm going to try substuituting brown rice instead, as the vinaigrette sounds amazing.

    1. Barley is not gluten free--but the pork completely gluten free. I'll amend the recipe notes. Rice would be a great substitute. Thanks for writing in!