The sous vide machine is occupying my thoughts. Cooking with it does, however, require some organisation. Cooking something for 30 hours or so isn’t really the problem; it’s not as if I have to be there the whole time. The problem is that I don’t know what I’ll be doing from one day to the next and I don’t want to be denied the pleasure of eating something I’ve invested so much time in. Imagine my delight then, when I discovered that eggs take a mere hour. An hour! In sous vide world this is the equivalent of 5 minutes.
The idea of a breakfast sandwich was irresistible. Some kind of sausage and egg…no, bacon and egg muffin, multiplied to the power of ten. Inspiration was taken from the Meateasy bacon cheeseburger. Remember that? They used to cook a fat hunk of bacon, then shred it, shape it into a patty and fry it; fantastic texture, and so much surface area to get good and crisp.
I used two strips of pork belly, which were simmered with onion, bay leaves and peppercorns, then shredded and squished into patties, mixed with thyme, nutmeg, white pepper and some fabulous smoky Mexican chilli paste called Luchito, which is new and made with incredible Oaxacan Pasilla chillies. With flavours of chocolate, smoke and tobacco it is basically fabulous.
There’s no need to vac pack eggs for sous videing, they come with their own sous vide casing, ie, the shell. When they’re done you just crack the egg like normal and…a poached egg comes out! It’s so bizarre. I thought the egg would catch on the shell and break but no, it just slips out intact, all wobbly and just the most perfect poached egg in the world.
I thought the eggs would be the easiest things to cook in the sous vide but actually they were the hardest. Once again I had consulted my bible, Serious Eats, which advised a cooking time of anything from 45 minutes to 4 hours. The first egg I cooked for 45 minutes was pretty much perfect, then I tried a 3 hour egg, which unsurprisingly was a lot firmer; a soft, spreadable but definitely not runny yolk. The third I cooked for an hour and a half, which is also too long and in fact was pretty damn similar to the 3 hour version. Huh.
45 minute egg…
1.5 hour egg; she ain’t pretty…fudgy yolk and translucent white.
So, 45 minutes it is, folks. If you want a perfectly poached, just cooked, super silky egg. The final sandwich was pretty FIT and I’m amazed how much the pork belly patty tasted like the Maccy D’s McMuffin. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted however; next time I’d use ham hock or something to get the flavour I was looking for. In fact, sod that, I’ll just use bacon. I made the muffins too, CAN YOU TELL? They’re a little *ahem*, rustic (Hugh FW recipe here).
I’ll leave you with a little video of the egg being all wibbly on the plate.
Sous Vide Egg Muffins
Slappy cheese slices
2 strips pork belly (or use bacon or sausages)
2 bay leaves
1 onion, peeled and halved
1 tablespoon Luchita chilli paste (or use chilli flakes)
Put the pork belly, peppercorns, bay leaves and onion in a large pot, cover with water or stock, cover and simmer very gently for 3 hours, or until it shreds apart easily. Shred the meat, then mix with the white pepper, chilli, nutmeg and thyme to taste. Add salt if necessary. Form into patties.
To sous vide the egg, bring the sous vide machine to 62C then lower in your eggs and cook for 45 minutes.
To assemble the muffins, slightly toast them, add a slice of slappy cheese to the bottom half, allowing it to melt slightly, then fry a patty of your pork belly and place on top. Finish by cracking the sous vide egg on to the pork. Enjoy. It’s messy.
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