If you’re the proud owner of a sous vide machine, you’ve no doubt cooked steaks to perfection, experimented with eggs and maybe even infused your own bespoke spirits for cocktails. But it can also be an incredibly useful bit of kit when preparing desserts – especially if you love working with chocolate.
Chef-consultant Russell Brown knows all too well how much sous vide can help achieve excellent results in the kitchen at home. He’s also a big fan of all things chocolaty, making him the perfect person to demonstrate how the technique can eliminate the risks and worries of cooking chocolate in both sweet and savoury recipes.
Chocolate and chilli is a flavour combination that’s only been commonplace in the UK for the past five years or so, but it is a traditional and much-loved pairing in Mexican cuisine. Russell begins by making unctuous, slow-cooked venison in a chilli-chocolate sauce to use in his simple yet incredibly tasty tacos. Toasting and then rehydrating ancho chillies in boiling water brings out their mild, smoky flavour, which he uses to flavour his sauce made from softened shallots, garlic, thyme, Dijon mustard, tomato puree, wine and stock. Once it’s reduced down he whisks a small amount of chocolate into the mixture until just melted – this doesn’t mean the sauce will taste of chocolate necessarily, but it will add a delicious depth of flavour that helps the other ingredients shine. Once browned chunks of diced venison are added, everything is chilled and placed in a bag which is then vacuum sealed and cooked in a 75°C water bath for twelve hours.