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Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 7)

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#1 Guy MovingOn

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 09:11 AM

[Moderator note: The original Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment topic became too large for our servers to handle efficiently, so we've divided it up; the preceding part of this discussion is here: Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 6)]

 

 

 

 

I was confit-ing belly pork last night at 80C. Following the recipe I had cut up the belly pork into roughly 2.5cmx3cm chunks, brined for 36 hours, then dried and bagged with some fat.

I was intending to let them cook at 80C for anywhere between 12-16 hours. It was 18 hours when I realised that I hadn't taken them out of the bath yet. There is a lot of fluid from the bag. I presume it is the extra liquid taken on by the meat in the brine, plus some of its own juices.

I have read about a 3 stage cooling process to try to maximise juiciness of protein which has been cooked en sous vide. I believe that small chunks of meat (admittedly they were all in the same bag, but no more than 4cm thick at all) cooked at 80C for 18 hours should be relatively safe/sterile, so I have tried cooling them more slowly than I would normally with anything cooked at lower temperatures for shorter times.

Is this the best way to try to improve the juiciness of the meat, or is it a lost cause? Also, is it potentially dangerous? I would have thought that 80C for 18 hours is a very high temperature for a very long period of time, and that almost all bacteria would have been destroyed.

BTW, once the contents have cooled, I plan to deep fry them before serving.

Thanks for your opinions!


Edited by Mjx, 24 July 2013 - 02:27 AM.
Moderator note added.


#2 Guy MovingOn

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 11:48 AM

Just to note, the contents are being refrigerated, I just wanted to cool them down slower. I guess it would have taken a couple of hours for them to cool to room temperature. I know that traditional confit can be stored at room temperature - some people say indefinitely. Also I think my temp/time combo will put me on the safe side, I just wanted to double check!

#3 slkinsey

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 12:22 PM

If you are going to keep the meat in the sealed bag, you want to chill it as rapidly as possible for safety reasons. Dropping the bag in an ice-water bath is the usual way.
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#4 e_monster

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 09:23 PM

Is this the best way to try to improve the juiciness of the meat, or is it a lost cause? Also, is it potentially dangerous? I would have thought that 80C for 18 hours is a very high temperature for a very long period of time, and that almost all bacteria would have been destroyed.

BTW, once the contents haofve cooled, I plan to deep fry them before serving.

Thanks for your opinions!

The safety issue is largely the spores as they are much harder to deactivate than the bacteria. I would stick to Doug Baldwin's recommendations.

#5 DouglasBaldwin

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 10:32 PM


...
Is this the best way to try to improve the juiciness of the meat, or is it a lost cause? Also, is it potentially dangerous? I would have thought that 80C for 18 hours is a very high temperature for a very long period of time, and that almost all bacteria would have been destroyed.
...

The safety issue is largely the spores as they are much harder to deactivate than the bacteria. I would stick to Doug Baldwin's recommendations.


e_monster is correct. The spores of Clostridium perfringens will easily survive your 80C (175F) for 18 hours. Rapid cooling (in ice water) is the best way to prevent sporulation of C. perfringens.
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#6 Guy MovingOn

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 02:30 PM

Thank you for the clarification on the cooling.

The process to which I was referring was Bruno Goussalt's multi stage cooling, which I read about in the NYTimes article Under Pressure (http://www.nytimes.c.../14CRYOVAC.html), when after having cooked the food en sous vide, it is then "cooled, successively, at room temperature, in cold water, then in ice water, before being reheated and served." I had read a discussion about this multi-stage cooling process earlier in this thread, and thought it was concluded that this method improves the juiciness of the protein.

Douglas could you please help my confusion! Btw, I am still going to pasteurise a chicken breast at 55C and report back to you! Sorry I haven't gotten round to doing it yet! I was a big fan of 57.5C chicken, but consider that to be almost as low a temperature as I would want!

#7 DouglasBaldwin

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 05:03 PM

Guy MovingOn,

The difference is in the context: Mr Goussalt is concerned with industrial sous vide cooking and we are interested in home and restaurant sous vide cooking. If you're trying to cool thousands of pounds (kilograms) of food, successively cooler baths makes a lot of sense. At our scale, it's much easier for us to drop the cooked food into an ice bath until the core's cold enough.

That multi-stage cooling improves juiciness hasn't been shown to my satisfaction. First, I'd only consider it when doing braises (i.e., at 70C/160F and higher). In the small scale experiment I did for myself a couple years ago, there was a small difference but it was within my expected error. I've never gotten around to doing a larger scale experiment to see if there is a statistically significant difference. Personally, I usually let my braised pork sit on the counter for about 15 minutes before placing them in my ice bath --- but this is mainly to cool the pouches enough so they're not painful to handle.

Edit: Typo

Edited by DouglasBaldwin, 28 March 2010 - 05:03 PM.

My Guide: A Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking, which Harold McGee described as "a wonderful contribution."
My Book: Sous Vide for the Home Cook US EU/UK
My YouTube channel — a new work in progress.

#8 Andrew Chalk

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 05:10 PM

Do you crumble the crispy skin or just lay a sheet from the salmon on each fillet?

#9 Guy MovingOn

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 05:44 PM

Guy MovingOn,

The difference is in the context: Mr Goussalt is concerned with industrial sous vide cooking and we are interested in home and restaurant sous vide cooking. If you're trying to cool thousands of pounds (kilograms) of food, successively cooler baths makes a lot of sense. At our scale, it's much easier for us to drop the cooked food into an ice bath until the core's cold enough.

That multi-stage cooling improves juiciness hasn't been shown to my satisfaction. First, I'd only consider it when doing braises (i.e., at 70C/160F and higher). In the small scale experiment I did for myself a couple years ago, there was a small difference but it was within my expected error. I've never gotten around to doing a larger scale experiment to see if there is a statistically significant difference. Personally, I usually let my braised pork sit on the counter for about 15 minutes before placing them in my ice bath --- but this is mainly to cool the pouches enough so they're not painful to handle.

Edit: Typo

I believe that it is not only in industrial applications where he has recommended this process. He obviously consults to several restaurants, and I believe that it was earlier in this thread that lecture notes or photgraphs from these seminars were posted.
However, having reread this thread, I have come across posts from several people, including NathanM, who have stated that the three stage process should not be used.



I suppose then, that traditional confit is safe to store at room temperature indefinitely, but sous vide confit must be refrigerated?

#10 nickrey

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 05:52 PM

Do you crumble the crispy skin or just lay a sheet from the salmon on each fillet?

I cut square shapes, place a small cut in the salmon and the place it like a little sail in each fillet.

Otherwise you could just lay it on the fillet.

The skin is eaten like a little piece of pork crackling.

I haven't tried it crumbled.

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#11 jk1002

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 06:09 PM

@ emonster

The fat in wagyu melts like butter. It will actually melt based on your body temperature so that is why I didn't SV mine. There is another thread around here how to prep it.

That said, I had both the japanese (with noseprint of the cattle) and the american. The american I did pan sear because the marbling wasn't that crazy and I was sort of unprepared.

The japanese, well see below:

Posted Image

I guess I would make the call upon seeing what you get in the mail.


I did salmon over the weekend. I had farmed and wild. Huge difference in texture, farmed was mushy and soft, the wild one was nice and firm yet moist. Both were done at 60.5 for a 70 minutes.

P.s. For those interested, I got Jose Garces Latin Evolution. He has a few Sous Vide Recipes in there.

#12 millions

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 01:24 PM

I made some of the best short rib chili I've ever had over the weekend. I browned about 1/4 pound of ground chuck just for a little beef fat and flavor, to which I added garlic, onions, bell and chipotles, the chili powder and cumin. After adding some canned tomatoes and red wine, I let this cook down for about a half hour before letting it cool. I then cubed 2 pounds of boneless short ribs, added them to the other ingredients and then bagged.

36 hours in a 135 degree bath, and I then enjoyed some of the most incredibly tender and flavorful chili ever. I plan to make bigger batches of this for bagging and freezing of individual-sized portions as rainy-day meals.

#13 Phaz

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 02:00 PM

I decided to finally try some short ribs, I did a lot of research and cooking them and settled on going with just salt and pepper in the bag then cooking at 141f(60.5c) for 72 hours. I know then to take them out and sear them on the sides with a little bit of oil. What I'm unsure of is what kind of sauce to serve with them. From what I can gather people use the juice in the bag to create a sauce, but I haven't yet found any recipes or what to mix it with (other than some amount of red wine). Does anyone any relatively simple recipes/tricks for a sauce?

#14 jk1002

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 02:39 PM

For a quick sauce, I sometimes take a little demi glace and mix it with port wine or madeira, little cream done. Not making demi glace from scratch but using "More then Gourmet".

#15 skinnye

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 06:11 PM

One thing that my new SVM has done is made me plan way in advance, it is Monday and I am thinking about Easter dinner already. I'm going to SV a boneless leg of lamb in an attempt to outdo my wife's family recipe. So what about it gang, want to help me out? I'm planning 55C for 24hr, give me some seasoning ideas...no need to worry about tradition (obviously).

#16 lesliec

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 06:17 PM

Can't go wrong with rosemary and garlic, in moderation. Some traditions are good.

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#17 Guy MovingOn

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 07:00 PM

One thing that my new SVM has done is made me plan way in advance, it is Monday and I am thinking about Easter dinner already. I'm going to SV a boneless leg of lamb in an attempt to outdo my wife's family recipe. So what about it gang, want to help me out? I'm planning 55C for 24hr, give me some seasoning ideas...no need to worry about tradition (obviously).

I love port and redcurrant jelly with roast rack of lamb, and often used that jelly with extra port and stock to make a gravy. Perhaps it might not go so well inside the bag, but you could think of it as some sort of condiment.

Another tradition is minted lamb.

#18 Guy MovingOn

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 10:30 PM

I made the deep fried pork belly confit. I have to say it was delicious! I imagine pork from a better source than the supermarket would be so much better still. I'm not sure if my deep frying technique was good enough, I would have hoped for the skin to be even crispier - that's probably a fault of my own.

I was going to serve it with some salad tossed in a simple vinaigrette of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but it was late at night and we didn't have any salad. The Charcuterie book suggested serving it with a crusty loaf, so instead I made some toast, spread some duck fat on the toast, then added the cubes of deep fried porky goodness, and then drizzled on a sauce I had made with the cooking juices, plus some honey and mustard.

It was quite delicious, but as I say, my deep frying technique probably let it down, and the serving accompaniments could have been better :)

The pork was marinaded with lots of salt, pepper, thyme, cinnamon, garam masala, nutmeg, and white wine for 36 hours, then bagged with some duck fat, goose fat, and olive oil.
Intended to cook at 80C for 12-16 hours, but ended up being 18 hours.

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Edited by Guy MovingOn, 29 March 2010 - 10:31 PM.


#19 BadRabbit

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 06:50 AM

I am pretty new to sous vide having just built an immersion circulator a couple of weeks ago. Since then I have noticed that there really is a dearth of sous vide recipes available on the web and I'm having a little trouble getting the seasoning of dishes right. I have read this entire thread and have picked up some tips with regards to cooking times and safety but still have a few questions regarding seasoning and conversion of traditional recipes.

Is there a general conversion anyone is using with herbs, salt, etc... to compensate for the increased flavor potency of SVed items? For example, would one cut the amount of fresh rosemary in half when cooking chicken sous vide? Do you salt in the same proportions?

There is nothing worse than waiting HOURS for something only to find that it is so bland as to require lots of post SV seasoning or so herby and salty to make it nearly inedible. I have been very successful with a few dishes but others have not fared so well. Anybody done any experimenting with some good rules of thumb for seasoning?

Edited by BadRabbit, 31 March 2010 - 06:51 AM.


#20 Phaz

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 12:59 PM

Well I'm sold on the short ribs. 72 hrs at 141 was perfect. Someone actually made a comment about getting up to get a knife then realizing they didn't need one at all.

A couple interesting notes, I did them 3 different ways. One bag had a teriyaki sauce, another had a sweet bbq sauce and the third was just salt and pepper. The teriyaki and bbq sauce obviously had very different tastes, and I could certainly smell the difference in the bag. However, once I got them out of the bag and seared them they were hard to tell apart. The plate got turned around and I forgot which was which. Both tasted sweet but neither had a strong bbq or teriyaki flavor. It was quite good.

The only thing I'd do differently next time is get some leaner short ribs and trim them really well before hand. They were just slightly too greasy (but the meat was incredibly easy to separate from the fat).

#21 e_monster

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 10:39 PM

@ emonster

The fat in wagyu melts like butter. It will actually melt based on your body temperature so that is why I didn't SV mine. There is another thread around here how to prep it.

That said, I had both the japanese (with noseprint of the cattle) and the american. The american I did pan sear because the marbling wasn't that crazy and I was sort of unprepared.

The japanese, well see below:


I have never cooked Japanese Wagyu, but I have cooked plenty of American Wagyu from the same purveyor that the French Laundry uses. I have never found the fat to actually render at temps like 135F and below (which are the only temps that I have used with it). The fat cap definitely did not render at all--though it was nice and soft. I have seen the claim about Wagyu beef fat having a melting point less than 100F but must admit that it strikes me as hard to imagine -- since steer have an average body temperature of 101F. It is my understanding that mammalian body fat is not liquid at a mammal's normal body temperature. Perhaps, I am mistaking.

It seems that the percentage of monosaturated fats (which do render at temps less than 100F) in Wagyu fat is higher than that of standard beef. That is also true of grass-fed beef that isn't wagyu. The monosaturated fats however aren't "free". They are mixed with the saturated fats and so don't behave as if they were in isolation.

Perhaps I am mistaken, but I think that if you took that Japanese Wagyu and cooked it sous-vide at 129F for 1/2 hour or an hour and then did a very quick sear in a very hot pan (no more than 30 to 45 seconds per side) that it would turn out well.

#22 Phaz

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 10:23 AM

Does anyone here follow Kenji Lopez-Alt's posts on Serious Eats (The Food Lab)? He's done some SV related stuff in the past. Today he has how to do a perfect rack of lamb (Link to article).

He goes through a few methods, but finishes with an interesting one. He decides that cooking SV for about an hour is his goal, however his methods are quite different. Rather than using his SVS he takes a more simple approach. He removes the air from the bag by simply dipping it into a water bath and squeezing out the bubbles. Not a perfect method but he says good enough to get the bubbles out so it will stay under water and cook evenly. Then, instead of a fancy setup, he places 130f tap water into a Thermos cooler. He checks back an hour later and the water has only dropped to 127.4f and the lamb was a perfect 125f. Even after 3 hours the water was still 124f.

That method obviously won't work for short ribs and things that take a long time, and it's certainly not as accurate as the big setups, but I can see it as being a nice, simple, cheap alternative for people for 'good enough' results when the cooking time is on the lower end, which I find is the case for most of what I cook (Steaks, burgers, fish, etc).

What do you guys think?

#23 e_monster

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 12:57 AM

Just ate a skirt steak cooked for 29 hours at 132F with a little liquid smoke and a couple of tablespoons of 5% brine then seared with an Iwatani blow torch. This might be my favorite cut of beef now. More flavorful than a ribeye and as tender as a filet. And it was nice and juicy. This wasn't even prime beef and it was one of the most flavorful steaks I have eaten.

#24 jk1002

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 06:59 AM

I can see that. I did flank steak twice at 55c and it was awesome. Like you did I would advise for a bit longer then 24 hours, the first one I did was incredible, the second one had a tiny bit of toughness left. I would probably do 26 or more hours next time just to be sure.

#25 Phaz

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 10:11 PM

I need some help. I've never been able to do poultry. I can do beef, fish, pork, everything else.

I tried duck confit today using a Hudson Valley moulard breast cut in 1/2s. I followed Douglas' method and brined it for just over 3 hours in a 7% solution that also had some herbs and a little bit of orange juice (no orange slices but I figured that would work). I forgot to wash the breasts after (that might be my mistake). I put them in a bag with a couple slabs of duck fat and threw it in at 80c for 10 hours. At first the bag looked fine, lots of fat and duck. After a few hours I began to see red juice in it. I took them out, let them rest 5 minutes or so, and seared them and had them with some mushroom risotto (first time doing that as well, and it turned out amazing. I was worried since I've never even had risotto before but according to my friend that tried it the texture was almost dead on).

They were pretty darn tasty, but dry. A few bites took some trouble to swallow properly. What did I do wrong? The same thing happened when I tried chicken. I feel like poultry should be the easy thing to cook but I can never get it moist, even when the juices are sealed in the bag with the meat.

Is there a solution to prevent the moisture from leaking out or to put it back into the meat when it spills over into the bag?

Edited by Phaz, 11 April 2010 - 10:12 PM.


#26 DouglasBaldwin

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 01:15 AM

Phaz,

Preparing duck breasts confit-style is the problem. Such tender cuts as poultry (chicken, turkey, duck, goose, etc.) breasts are best prepared as you would tender pork or beef. I cook migratory-bird (duck, goose, etc.) breasts at 135F (57C) until pasteurized (see other posts); I cook non-migratory-birds (chicken, turkey, etc.) at 140F (60C) until pasteurized (see other posts and my guide). I only braise or confit tough cuts of poultry---such as legs and thighs. I hope that answers your question.
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#27 nickrey

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 04:59 AM

I put this post on the dinner thread. Click on the link to see the picture.

Finished sous vide cooked pork fillet by putting sliced fig on it, wrapping it in pancetta and searing in a very hot frypan so the pancetta cooked. Worked like a dream.

Edited by nickrey, 12 April 2010 - 05:01 AM.

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#28 dougal

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 08:12 AM

I need some help. I've never been able to do poultry. I can do beef, fish, pork, everything else.

I tried duck confit today ... in a bag with a couple slabs of duck fat and threw it in at 80c for 10 hours. ...

They were pretty darn tasty, but dry. ...

Is there a solution to prevent the moisture from leaking out or to put it back into the meat when it spills over into the bag?




80 Centigrade? 176 Fahrenheit? 10 hours sv?
Overcooked. Hence dry meat.


I'd guess that you got the 80c for 10 hours from a conventional (oven) recipe.
There's a very important translation that has to be done for sv, because the heat flow is so different.
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#29 Phaz

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 09:12 AM

Thanks! That makes a lot of sense. It didn't even cross my mind that breasts would be that much different from legs (I'm quite inexperienced in poultry).

I suppose that's one of the first things to learn with SV cooking. Tender meats -> short time just to reach the temp you want, tougher meats -> long time to make them tender. It seems obvious but somehow I missed it. I suppose the second thing to learn is which cuts are tender and which aren't.

I'm going to see if I can find a nice orange sauce and try the other breast at a lower temp for a shorter period of time.

This forum is such a great resource.

#30 Merridith

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 09:34 AM

I need some help. I've never been able to do poultry. I can do beef, fish, pork, everything else.

I tried duck confit today using a Hudson Valley moulard breast cut in 1/2s. I followed Douglas' method and brined it for just over 3 hours in a 7% solution that also had some herbs and a little bit of orange juice (no orange slices but I figured that would work). I forgot to wash the breasts after (that might be my mistake). I put them in a bag with a couple slabs of duck fat and threw it in at 80c for 10 hours. At first the bag looked fine, lots of fat and duck. After a few hours I began to see red juice in it. I took them out, let them rest 5 minutes or so, and seared them and had them with some mushroom risotto (first time doing that as well, and it turned out amazing. I was worried since I've never even had risotto before but according to my friend that tried it the texture was almost dead on).

They were pretty darn tasty, but dry. A few bites took some trouble to swallow properly. What did I do wrong? The same thing happened when I tried chicken. I feel like poultry should be the easy thing to cook but I can never get it moist, even when the juices are sealed in the bag with the meat.

Is there a solution to prevent the moisture from leaking out or to put it back into the meat when it spills over into the bag?


I have had great success with chicken breasts and with moulard duck breasts from Hudson Valley Fois Gras. I do them at 57.5C for as little as 45 minutes and as much as an hour and 15 minutes. I remove the duck skin and it gets crisped like bacon on top of the stove using a bacon press. You can also crisp the skin in the oven with parchment - by putting the skin between two cookie sheets. I have brined the breasts or not - they always come out juicy and perfect. I have marinated the duck breast or not - they always come out tender and tasty. Frankly, I like the non-brined/non-marinated versions the best, but note that for chicken I am using all natural, pastured, farm fresh chicken.

Check out my post #3411 in this thread.

Edited by Merridith, 12 April 2010 - 09:39 AM.

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