The Poorest Man’s Sous Vide


Down the street a few blocks from me is one of the best burger joints in the world. Yet it’s more than simply a burger joint. It’s full of metal and rockers, disenfranchised (as much as you can be in a world of iPods and free WiFi anyway), surly, funny and is very, very real. It’s called Kuma’s Corner and you must check it out if you’re in Chicago. Ever. At any point. Come early, prepare to wait. Prepare thyself.

But Kuma’s doesn’t just do burgers. They also have a fantastic house salad with loads of spinach and a delicious basil dressing. There’s the best calamari I’ve ever had with its deep-fried lemon slices. House-made buffalo wing sauce for the chicken tenders. And mac and cheese. Amazing mac and cheese.

This mac and cheese is make-your-own. I always go bacon with grilled onions personally.. but when you get this amazing mac and cheese home, heating it up is darn near impossible. With all the cheese used, it always, ALWAYS breaks upon reheating. I have yet to find a way to heat it so that it doesn’t turn into an oily mess when all I want is the creamy, amazing deliciousness for a repeat experience.

Tonight I decided to sous vide it. Preliminary indications show that it has still broken, it’s been in the water for half an hour now and I see oil running about. The only way to truly save this, because the sauce is incorporated and can’t be warmed through with a simple egg solution, is to make yet another Béchamel to add to the already thick dish. I frankly don’t want to go that route.

But here is the attempt. I broke my leftovers into two portions. One to sous vide, one to attempt to revive with another sauce, on the stove. Sadly, it’s greasy tasting. A nice side effect of the method though, is that the grease pools in the bag and the pasta can then be scooped out, avoiding the majority of it in the bowl.

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