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Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 8)

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Has anyone done the retrograde starch mashed potatoes sous vide? I've always just done them with a pot and a thermometer, but it would be simpler to bag a bunch of potato slices and do them in the waterbath (at least the first cook, but probably both).

Do you think there would be an issue with them being bagged vs. in the water? Is that a good or bad thing?

I used to do it quite a bit - until I got out of my potato puree phase.... I think I wrote about it about 40 pages ago... haha... I sliced the potatoes about 3/8" thick, bagged, and into the bath - I think I let mine go for about an hour, then cooled. I did the second cook in barely simmering water. The results came out pretty good - but there were always a few granules that never cooked through, so I always had to run the puree through a tamis to get rid of the grittyness. The basic procedure was:

1) retrograde starches/cool

2) simmer until cooked through

3) run through ricer

4) dry potatoes in skillet over low heat

5) add butter

6) run through tamis

7) add starchy potato water to adjust consistency

8) season

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That primer article is golden! I have one question: after the first cook and retrograde cool down, can I keep the potatoes in the fridge overnight then bring them up to temperature to make the mash the next day? I have very little experience par cooking anything.

note: sorry, this post is in the wrong thread but I can't find a way to move it or delete it.


Edited by Big Mike (log)

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The results came out pretty good - but there were always a few granules that never cooked through, so I always had to run the puree through a tamis to get rid of the grittyness.

My problem exactly -- and I have no tamis, nor do I want to drag out the chinois.

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I have done duck confit before, and don't remember if I left the skin on the legs...Getting ready to confit the legs from a goose in the next few days, using the SV method in a bag...I did a bunch of searching and can't find anything about

skin on, or off,,,Wonder What the concensus is, for skin on, or skin off??

Any direction would be appreciated....

Bud

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I keep the skin on for all manners of confit - the connective tissue in the skin really breaks down well, which makes for REALLY crispy skin afterwards with a post SV fry or high temp baking between sheet pans.

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OK!!!! Thanks guys...That will make it ....I have this thawing domestic goose that we are going to eat the breast from, tomorrow, and then, I am going to Confit the legs(might even do the wings) and then will have a whole lot of goose fat for the freezer,after the bit I use for the confit....

THANKS again for the Direction!!!!

Bud

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Thanks for the detailed reply nathanm -this is exactly what I was looking for!

I had thought that by curing the trout first it would significantly improve the safety issue. Quite sobering to read your response on this...

I will definitely take your advice from this point and cook to order. It seems a few more trials are in order; will also try at 38C.

You're also correct re the temperature of the fish but it is served as a cold starter. It was only meant to bring the fish to room temperature.

Thanks again.

Curing isn't enough by itself, especially at the level of curing salts you are using. Again, you could do it without incident for a while, but if you got some contamination in the system (including cross contamination from something else), then it would be problematic.

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Has anyone done the retrograde starch mashed potatoes sous vide? I've always just done them with a pot and a thermometer, but it would be simpler to bag a bunch of potato slices and do them in the waterbath (at least the first cook, but probably both).

Do you think there would be an issue with them being bagged vs. in the water? Is that a good or bad thing?

As others have noted, it works well. We have recipes for potato puree in the book that use this approach.

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Monday we will be posting a recipe for turkey wings to the Modernist Cuisine blog for turkey wings cooked sous vide - you cure them with salt first (as for duck confit) then you cook them 12 hours at 58C/137F for 12 hours.

It's up. Nathan, why 58C for the wings? I'm doing legs and thighs with duck fat SV and keep seeing temps up near 80C. Is the latter more confit and the former less so?

It's the temperature we prefered after doing tests.

The temperature and time you use depends on the result you want. If you want to mimic conventional duck confit then 80C/176F for 8-12 hours is pretty much comparable to most traditional recipes - same temp, same time, and pretty much the same result.

Or you can go to lower temperature. In this case we wanted low temp but we wanted some tenderization, and the combination of 58C for 12 hours was our preference.

Turkey thighs can be done in a similar manner. Every temperature and time will give a somewhat different result.

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As none of the usual suspects has answered, I'll offer the shrimp formula I was given by a modernist chef: 2 hours at 123°F/50.5°C. For service, he grilled them for 30 seconds per side, but said that was just to warm them up. 50°C seems low to me, but I have to say the shrimp were perfect.

THe prefered time and temperature will depend a lot on the specific shrimp you use. My favorite for most really high quality shrimp is 45C/113F for just long enough to cook through - which is typically 20 min for spot prawns. The 2 hour recipe above sounds a bit long to me.

Note that this is NOT pasteurizing combination, so you should use maximum hygiene and treat as you would for sushi.

To pasteurize, 55C/130F for ~2 hours should work fine, or 30 min at 60C with (to my taste) some loss of quality on the texture.

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Boned and cured overnight the skin-on turkey thighs and legs. Rinsed them off and SVed them with duck fat last night at 80C. After 10h, picked them apart, removed the tendons, and have the meat cooling in the fridge in strained bag liquid. It is astoundingly good, confit in texture and taste, very rich and supple.

BTW, this method for crisping skin works like a charm. I'll serve the rewarmed meat with the skin cracklin's for texture -- unless I eat them all first.

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Help for a newbie please:

Our fresh, non brined, 14 pound turkey prepared per Doug Baldwin's instructions, supplemented with duck fat and fresh herbs, yielded outstanding white meat. The dark meat came out a bit soft, for my taste, and the color of the dark meat had a grey tint. I do not believe Broiling or the torch would have helped as the dark meat was somewhat delicate, shall I say. Frying was out of the question for our guests. I don't know if the grey tint was from a "bleed" from the herbs (sage, thyme) or what. Almost like a film, whichI tried to rub away the best I could do. My first SV turkey. Any thoughts, or is this the way it is????

alanjesq

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As I just mentioned, the cure & SV method above worked very well for me.

I several of my vegetables in advance SV at 85C with butter, seasonings, etc., chilled them down and kept them in the fridge, then reheated in a 300F oven. Worked like a charm with carrots, Macomber turnips, and parsnips.

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I'm wanting to try the Alinea "Pork, Grapefruit, Sage, Honeycomb" but I have cubed pork shoulder only.

The recipe says to cook an intact 750g portion of pork shoulder at 180F for 5 hours. How would I adjust the cooking time for 1-2" cubes?

Thanks! =)

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Am I doing something wrong or is it just my tastes?

I picked up a sous vide magic and found an old big rice cooker and have made a handful of dishes using it including salmon, halibut, 48 hour short ribs, 24 hour hanger steak and this last week, 12 hour turkey confit with duck fat. Some of these dishes are considered on this board as transcendent experiences perfectly made for sous vide and yet other than the salmon (my personal favorite) and to a lesser extent, the halibut, I just haven't had a similar experience. The short ribs were good but I think I would have just preferred them braised. The hanger steak was perfectly medium rare and yet again, I think I would have preferred just using a very hot pan. The turkey confit was completely blah.

So am I doing something wrong? or is this just a matter of tastes?

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eternal,

It depends. Odds are you aren't doing it wrong, per se, but there are a few steps that you could take that might improve things.

Are you searing post sous vide? Might be difficult for fish, I understand, but did you sear the hangar steak after you sous vide it?

I find that people who don't like sous vide seem to have the most trouble with the texture.

It could also be your seasoning...you don't want to go crazy but salt in the bad definitely helps. A little fleur de sel or similar salt after slicing can go a long way, as can herbs/garlic/aromats in the bag during cooking, just be careful not to overdo it as the vacuum makes the flavors quite strong.

You shouldn't feel like you are doing it wrong if you don't love it. Trying in some way to add texture to the dish and making sure seasoning is up to par are two areas I would start. Searing things, especially beef, when they come out of the bag is almost essential. Just be sure to do it hot and fast and not to overcook obviously.

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More information would be helpful, too. For example, what did you do with that turkey confit? Did you cure it first? Use duck fat? Temps? Etc.

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Am I doing something wrong or is it just my tastes?

Perhaps you're doing nothing wrong and some of the products are just not to your taste. As I'm pretty sure I said a long time ago, I too find a "real" braise to be just perfect for my taste. And that hot pan for a steak - works fine for me as well.

It also doesn't mean that there aren't great reasons to sous vide as well.

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For the steak and ribs, I used either a butane torch or a hot pan to give it a crust.

For the turkey confit, I cured it for 5 hours or so in salt, pepper and brine, then washed off most of the cure and packed it away with a stick or two of thyme and a couple tablespoons of duck fat and cooked it at 176 degrees for 12 hours. Then I chilled it in an ice bath, removed the bags and removed some of the cartilage and then put it in the fridge until service. At which point I threw it into a 420 degree oven and then the broiler to crisp up the skin. It was fine, but almost dry, if you can believe that. I should note that I was working with a heritage turkey from a local farm, so maybe there was also less fat in general in the bird. And maybe I'm also changing too many variables here - perhaps the flavor of the heritage bird itself is also part of the problem as this is the first heritage bird I've cooked with.

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And to be clear, I'm not saying sous vide is a bad way to cook. I've had some wonderful meals cooked by others using sous vide and I think salmon is pretty awesome cooked sous vide. But I'm failing to have some of these "transcendent" experiences with short ribs, skirt steaks etc and wondering why I tend to find foods cooked sous vide a touch...bland.

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For the turkey confit, I cured it for 5 hours or so in salt, pepper and brine, then washed off most of the cure and packed it away with a stick or two of thyme and a couple tablespoons of duck fat and cooked it at 176 degrees for 12 hours. Then I chilled it in an ice bath, removed the bags and removed some of the cartilage and then put it in the fridge until service. At which point I threw it into a 420 degree oven and then the broiler to crisp up the skin. It was fine, but almost dry, if you can believe that.

I sure can: if it spent more than couple of minutes in that oven/broiler, it probably got well above the 176F at which you cooked it -- at which point you lost the benefits of the SV.

I'd urge you to try it again, crisp the skin off the meat itself, and serve it out of the bag, or perhaps brought to 160-70F after chilling. SV is a technique that requires a different set of tolerances and approaches than other methods, and with practice I'll bet you'll find a few things that for you are unmatched.

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Am I doing something wrong or is it just my tastes?

I picked up a sous vide magic and found an old big rice cooker and have made a handful of dishes using it including salmon, halibut, 48 hour short ribs, 24 hour hanger steak and this last week, 12 hour turkey confit with duck fat. Some of these dishes are considered on this board as transcendent experiences perfectly made for sous vide and yet other than the salmon (my personal favorite) and to a lesser extent, the halibut, I just haven't had a similar experience. The short ribs were good but I think I would have just preferred them braised. The hanger steak was perfectly medium rare and yet again, I think I would have preferred just using a very hot pan. The turkey confit was completely blah.

So am I doing something wrong? or is this just a matter of tastes?

I think that when we all start to experiment with SV cooking we think we are going to use it for everything and that it will/should be a miracle maker in the kitchen. But really, when you think about it, food cooked in this manner is only as good as the cook creating it and the ingredients they use. A chef friend of mine says "try using the stove." SV is just another method in our arsenal and it is not right for everything. Personally, I would never cook a hangar steak SV - they are naturally juicy and delicious and,from a high quality cow, it should be very well marbled and quite tender. On the other hand, I have to agree with others here that SV cooked short ribs are a culinary revelation. But this is true only if one chooses the temp correctly, trims the meat really well and uses seasonings that lift and enhance the natural flavor of the meat. I am sure I am not saying anything that is original here. To me, the greatest benefit of SV cooking is seen with tougher, "cheaper" cuts of meat. But that having been said, it is still very important (and makes a HUGE difference) to use high quality product. Perhaps the word "cheaper" should be abandoned for "well exercised" or just say tougher and leave it at that. I only use grass-fed, pastured, all natural meats and poultry which I buy direct from the farmer. As for fish, I cannot say - I have yet to find SV cooked fish that I prefer, unless it is fish that is best poached.

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For the turkey confit, I cured it for 5 hours or so in salt, pepper and brine, then washed off most of the cure and packed it away with a stick or two of thyme and a couple tablespoons of duck fat and cooked it at 176 degrees for 12 hours. Then I chilled it in an ice bath, removed the bags and removed some of the cartilage and then put it in the fridge until service. At which point I threw it into a 420 degree oven and then the broiler to crisp up the skin. It was fine, but almost dry, if you can believe that.

I sure can: if it spent more than couple of minutes in that oven/broiler, it probably got well above the 176F at which you cooked it -- at which point you lost the benefits of the SV.

I'd urge you to try it again, crisp the skin off the meat itself, and serve it out of the bag, or perhaps brought to 160-70F after chilling. SV is a technique that requires a different set of tolerances and approaches than other methods, and with practice I'll bet you'll find a few things that for you are unmatched.

I am quite happy with sv'd turkey breast at 60C x 2.5 hrs. The breast never sees the oven, but the skin goes in to crisp up. Drippings from the skin and whatever comes out of the breast go into gravy.

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