For Christmas Myron got me a Sous Vide Supreme. The idea is you put food in vacuum sealed bags, then let them slowly cook to the proper temperature in a very precisely controlled water bath. It is widely used in high end restaurants because you can cook food to the desired temperature and it just stays at that temperature. You can cook a perfectly medium rare steak and leave it for days without hurting it.
My first experiment was veal osso bucco. This is a cross-section of the lower leg, and typically you braise it for two to three hours in the oven. The closest thing I could find in the cookbook that came with the Sous Vide Supreme was bone in pork, which said 58C to 60C for four to six hours.
I put a little salt and pepper and a small pinch of saffron on each piece of osso bucco, put two per bag, and sealed them. Then I set the temperature on the Sous Vide Supreme to 58C and dropped them in and left them for six hours. Here is how it looked before I pulled it out of the cooker. Yes, it is done at this point and yes, I know it looks like brains.
I made a sauce from sauteed onions and celery with a touch of browned butter, chicken stock and heavy cream, and served the osso bucco with honey glazed carrots with pine nuts and green beans with sherry vinegar. Here are the results:
So, how did it taste? The flavor was okay, but the texture was weird. Sous vide cooking doesn't create crispness or browning, so you have to try to get that after the fact. You run the risk of overcooking it, though, since it's already completely cooked. The other issue is osso bucco has a lot of connective tissue. After doing more research I have learned that 58C just isn't hot enough to dissolve it, you need at least 60C.
One experiment, one mediocre result. I have a chuck roast cooking now, and I'll follow up after I pull it out. I already know I started out totally wrong so now I'm hoping to salvage it. The joys of experimentation. :-)