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Sous Vide Duck Confit


MexChef
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It is pasteurized, not sterilized so rapid chilling keeps it out of the danger zone when cooling. Besides it allows me to throw it in the fridge without affecting other foods by raising the temperature by putting hot food in there.

Hm, I am not particularly convinced by either argument. The latter argument (re: fridge temperatures) has been debunked. As for rapid chilling for food safety, I think you will find that the risk is minimal if almost nonexistent if you chill in an ice bath as opposed to simply moving the bags from the SV machine directly into the fridge.

Rapid chilling is the recommended safe procedure for sous vide food that'll be held in the fridge for an extended period of time.

"(to avoid sporulation of C. perfringens (Andersson et al., 1995)), and either refrigerated or frozen until reheating for service. Typically, the pasteurized food pouches are rapidly chilled by placing them in an ice water bath for at least the time listed in Table 1.1."

"While keeping your food sealed in plastic pouches prevents recontamination after cooking, spores of Clostridium botulinum, C. perfringens, and B. cereus can all survive the mild heat treatment of pasteurization. Therefore, after rapid chilling, the food must either be frozen or held at

  1. below 36.5°F (2.5°C) for up to 90 days,
  2. below 38°F (3.3°C) for less than 31 days,
  3. below 41°F (5°C) for less than 10 days, or
  4. below 44.5°F (7°C) for less than 5 days

to prevent spores of non-proteolytic C. botulinum from outgrowing and producing deadly neurotoxin (Gould, 1999; Peck, 1997)."

Source: http://www.douglasbaldwin.com/sous-vide.html

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I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

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Keith, see this food safety document from New South Wales Health. They got the bulk of their information direct from Douglas Baldwin. Table 4 shows the cooling times for meat of varying thickness and shape in an ice slurry. Given the length of time it takes to cool in an ice slurry, I'd be using this rather than conventional fridge temperatures.

Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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I'm always persuaded by data. Where was the former debunked? and what is your evidence for the latter? I recall looking at the thermal cooling model put together by either Douglas or Nathanm and they came down firmly on the side of using an ice bath rather than just throwing it in the fridge.

Hi Nick, re: refrigerator temperatures I can't seem to find my reference right now. I thought I read it in MC or McGee, but a quick flick through McGee didn't show it up. In any case, if you put hot food in the fridge, it does not warm up the rest of the fridge any more than opening the door would. The thermostat on your refrigerator regulates the temperature and takes care of that.

Re: bacterial growth I defer to your source. Thank you for pointing that out.

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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I'm always persuaded by data. Where was the former debunked? and what is your evidence for the latter? I recall looking at the thermal cooling model put together by either Douglas or Nathanm and they came down firmly on the side of using an ice bath rather than just throwing it in the fridge.

Hi Nick, re: refrigerator temperatures I can't seem to find my reference right now. I thought I read it in MC or McGee, but a quick flick through McGee didn't show it up. In any case, if you put hot food in the fridge, it does not warm up the rest of the fridge any more than opening the door would. The thermostat on your refrigerator regulates the temperature and takes care of that

Hi Keith, I think I remember Modernist Cuisine claiming the opposite. There was a "heat-map" photo (taken with infra-red camera or something similar) showing how foods close to the hot one and the whole area around were much hotter, in fact moving into non-safe temperatures.

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Regarding quick lazy duck confits. I have made a lot of duck legs properly salted overnight, but recently got lazy and am doing exclusively the 3 minutes version: add salt, pepper, herbs to the fresh leg in a bag, seal and sent it into SV. It comes out really good; in fact, my wife is convinced that we never had a better duck leg at any restaurant. As for me,I think there is difference between the proper and lazy versions, but i am not 100% sure. Even if it exists, the difference is too small to overcome my laziness.

What do you think? Does all the long-term salting make any difference?

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Remember the original purpose of the confit technique was to preserve the meat for eating later. The salt probably helps with that. On the other hand, if you're making it for immediate consumption (or only short-term storage) because it's yummy, the salt won't be as important. You could quite happily add it to suit your taste as you're plating it to serve.

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
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Yeah, basically you're not really making confit. You're making a duck leg braised in its own fat.

So it's not a lazy confit at all.

Edited by weinoo (log)

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Yeah, basically you're not really making confit. You're making a duck leg braised in its own fat.

So it's not a lazy confit at all.

Precisely. What puzzles me is that I cannot tell a difference in taste between the two versions. Hence, the question: are we attached beyond reason to the tradition, or is my ability to tell a difference in taste compromised? I guess someone who has tried cooking the legs sous-vide both ways can chime in. Thanks!

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First, you'd have to taste confit made and cured in the traditional manner. Then taste the sous-vide version where the legs are cured in salt for 24 hours before being bagged and cooked. Then taste your version. I imagine all 3 will taste differently.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Guess I'm a traditionalist, but I prefer the old way. Of course having said that I have admit to not having made my own for years.

I either buy one cuisse (thigh with leg still attached) at a time from the deli counter of my local supermarket. Or I buy cans from Aldi at 5.60 Euros per can of 4 cuisses. The canned stuff is great & I get to save the extra duck fat.

Can't say that I've had sous vide comfit, but I can sat that the canned stuff is better than my efforts.

Now, goose comfit is a whole different ball game.

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Yeah, basically you're not really making confit. You're making a duck leg braised in its own fat.

So it's not a lazy confit at all.

Precisely. What puzzles me is that I cannot tell a difference in taste between the two versions. Hence, the question: are we attached beyond reason to the tradition, or is my ability to tell a difference in taste compromised? I guess someone who has tried cooking the legs sous-vide both ways can chime in. Thanks!

FWIW, Nathan Myhrvhold said that they (the Modernist Cuisine team) made blind tests and they could not detect any difference, in a message in this very forum.

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Yeah, basically you're not really making confit. You're making a duck leg braised in its own fat.

So it's not a lazy confit at all.

Precisely. What puzzles me is that I cannot tell a difference in taste between the two versions. Hence, the question: are we attached beyond reason to the tradition, or is my ability to tell a difference in taste compromised? I guess someone who has tried cooking the legs sous-vide both ways can chime in. Thanks!

FWIW, Nathan Myhrvhold said that they (the Modernist Cuisine team) made blind tests and they could not detect any difference, in a message in this very forum.

The Myhvhold experiment was poached in duck fat vs steamed and then coated with duck fat. That's a different experiment from salted immediately vs cured overnight and rinsed.

PS: I am a guy.

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just a bit of an aside: Ive never understood how the fat was supposed to 'preserve' the duck: wouldnt the fat, at least that in contact with the air ( surface ) get rancid?

A little bit of rancidity contributes to the "aged" confit flavor. The main concern is preventing oxygen from getting to the meat to inhibit spoilage bacteria.

PS: I am a guy.

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Soooooooo you scrape off a bit of the oxygen sensitive Top before you delve in to the Duck?

then there are those Nasty Anaerobes. :blink:

but it seems to work. Im guessing in the Olden Days they gobbled this stuff up, they did not have central heating, and that helped a lot.

\just a guess

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Soooooooo you scrape off a bit of the oxygen sensitive Top before you delve in to the Duck?

then there are those Nasty Anaerobes. :blink:

but it seems to work. Im guessing in the Olden Days they gobbled this stuff up, they did not have central heating, and that helped a lot.

\just a guess

The traditional recipe used a lot of salt, which is going to inhibit bacterial growth significantly.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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  • 3 weeks later...

I found a subtle difference between the traditional and the sous vide versions -- I think the difference for me was that the traditional (I made a significant amount for a christmas party one year) developed more and more over the months I had it. The confit I started with in December, tasted nothing like the confit I finished in about July. You just can't get that with the sous vide version.

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I found a subtle difference between the traditional and the sous vide versions -- I think the difference for me was that the traditional (I made a significant amount for a christmas party one year) developed more and more over the months I had it. The confit I started with in December, tasted nothing like the confit I finished in about July. You just can't get that with the sous vide version.

This comment raises the elephant in the room. If the sous vide confit uses similar salting, encases the product in fat, and is well past the temperature and time for pasteurisation why can't it be kept for similar times to conventional confit?

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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  • 3 weeks later...

Question.

This time I made luck leg confit, I salted the legs for 24hours and then cooked at 75 C for 10 hours, followed by rapid chill and freezer.

The liquid in the pouch looked still a bit reddish. Is cooking time for that temperature enough?

Thanks

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Did you include curing salts? They're not mentioned in the two recipes linked in the OP, but are traditional. If so, that would explain the color. If not, I'm baffled, as I would have expected ten hours as 75C/167F to be enough to color-degrade the myyoglobin (the protein which makes meat pink), though I will say I can't recall having ever having cooked anything at precisely that temp. In any event, taking the temp up to 82C/180F should solve the problem. That's a temp I've used lots of times when aiming for braised texture by SV. No pink, in my experience.

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Hi pbear. No, I didn't include any curing salt. I did previously cook duck legs at 82 C for 8 hours, but this time wanted to experiment with another temperature and follow this advice. For now the legs are in the freezer. Maybe browining on the outside and warming in the oven a little longer is going to be enough if the legs already cooked 10 hours at 75 C.

Thanks

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