What to do with those  juices…

It wasn’t so long ago that chefs just discarded the juices left in the bag after sous vide processing. This “Sous Jus™” is water based and carries the flavor of the particular protein.  The higher the heat, the greater the release. At higher processing temperatures, the cloudy liquid will appear to have gray scrambled eggs scattered through it, and that’s just about right. This is because it contains albumins and myoglobin, which, if not removed, will smell and/or taste somewhat of sulfur and iron. It will also result in “dots” in your sauce.
There is quite a bit of gelatin converted from collagen by the sous vide process. This means we have the equivalent of an un-clarified but heavily reduced stock. If properly clarified, that sous jus can bring a lot of depth and body to sauces. It does not require any further reduction, because there was no water added to it before its creation (see below).

At lower temps, Sous Jus may be quite pink. As its temperature increases, it will become more cloudy and gray as I mentioned.  Next time you finish a project, take a couple of extra minutes and try this:

  • Pour the juice into a clear, microwaveable container–tall enough so that it won’t boil over.
  • Place the container in the microwave and process until it just boils. You can use a pan, too, I just hate washing pans.
  • Moisten a coffee filter/paper towel and place in a strainer. Moistening the filter prevents the liquid from clinging to the paper fabric. Pour the harvested juices through the  strainer.
  • Examine and smell the solids trapped by the filter. Congratulate yourself for deciding not to just grind them up and leave them in there.
  • Discard the solids and use the clarified liquid. It will be strong in flavor and gelatin. If there was salt in the bag, it may be salty. This is further testimony to the fact that even though salt CAN penetrate the surface of the meat, it does not really have time to do so. Even under ideal conditions (40 F/4 C), salt can only travel about 1″ every 4 days as part of the traditional curing process. As the temperature increases, the meat exerts too much outward pressure for even the salt to enter.

Below: clarified chicken “purge.”

A lot of devotees now speak of reducing the SouJus to utilize it in a sauce, just like you would a stock. Keep in mind that “reductions” are first made by ADDING water to extract flavor from bones, vegetables, etc. Then, that liquid is reduced to re-concentrate the flavors.  This is not necessary with sous jus because the liquid was never added in the first place. The sous jus can be put to good use just the way it is. It keeps well in the fridge.

Click here to learn how to make a buttery emulsion sauce from the sous jus.