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francois

Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 2)

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Has anybody tried doing like a duck galantine en sous vide?  Would there be any benefits to this?  I'd think that with just a bit of the poaching stock frozen and put in the bag, one could achieve better control of the cooking of the force and interior garnish.

Thoughts?

Yes, this works very well.

One thing to keep in mind with a galantine or other stuffed product is that stuffing, farces or other mixtures are much more worrysome with food safety than other things.

Also, the cooking time goes as the square of the thickness - see the cooking charts I posted previously. Large whole bird galantines start to get very long cooking times. It is difficult to get the cooking time short on really big galatines, such as "Turducken". This difficulty is present for any cooking method of course - but since sous vide is generally lower temperature you need to watch this.

A key advantage of galantine sous vide is that the vacuum packing tends to help mold the product. You can get even more molding effect if you use heat shrink bags - you dip them very briefly in boiling water and they shrink a lot....

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Nathan,

I think I may have asked this before, but do you know of a source of heat shrink bags in less than huge quantities? Every time I try searching for them I turn up quantities in the thousands. A bit more than I need....

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Some time ago, I posted about an off flavor in some of my long sous-vide cooks. I think one or two other people posted similar comments, but others said they never noticed it. Well, I FINALLY figured it out. I was using EVOO with the meat, but have now switched to grapeseed oil. I don't know if it's the particular brand of EVOO that I use, as I didin't test that far, but since I've moved to the grapeseed oil, the off/metallic/blood taste is gone.

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That is interesting. EVOO is unheated and unrefined - that's the "extra virgin" part so it is not a high-heat frying oil. It makes intuitive sense that a long time at low temperature could cause some breakdown of the oil.

This is a good discovery, thanks for positing it....

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Nathan,

I think I may have asked this before, but do you know of a source of heat shrink bags in less than huge quantities? Every time I try searching for them I turn up quantities in the thousands.  A bit more than I need....

Sorry, but I don't have a good small quantity source myself. If anybody else has one, please let us all know.

Sealed Air, the parent company of the cryovac brand is the main producer in the US but they mainly sell to very high volume vacuum packing operation. There must be someplace - for example a butcher supply shop - that sells in smaller quanitities.

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Great topic!! I'm only on page 5 though, so I cheated and popped to the end.

However, a suggestion on quantity would be to find some locals and do a group-buy if you can't find a smaller supply. Or even maybe ask that butcher shop to buy you some when they make their order?

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Well I tried roasting the meat joint that I mentioned earlier in the thread. I roasted it at 55C in a roasting bag (as recommended by Nathan) to approximate a sous vide environment. I cooked it for 7 hours. The colour was a little darker than I would normally like but could still definitely be described as rare(ish). It was pretty moist still. However the big problem was that it was completely tough. Relatively tasty but far too tough to enjoy.

What do you think cook for longer next time? 7 hours already seems a pretty long time but it was a thick (10cm or so) piece of meat.

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I don't have access to sous vide equipment at the moment so I am cooking at Low Temp for a Long Time (LTLT) in my oven. I want to cook a joint of beef ("Silverside" in the UK) that weighs about 0.82kg. My oven is very stable and works in 5C increments.
Well I tried roasting the meat joint that I mentioned earlier in the thread. I roasted it at 55C in a roasting bag (as recommended by Nathan) to approximate a sous vide environment. I cooked it for 7 hours. The colour was a little darker than I would normally like but could still definitely be described as rare(ish). It was pretty moist still. However the big problem was that it was completely tough. Relatively tasty but far too tough to enjoy.

What do you think cook for longer next time? 7 hours already seems a pretty long time but it was a thick (10cm or so) piece of meat.

I'm not familiar with the term "Silverside", could you describe the joint or where it is on the animal?

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It's sometimes called Topside I think. It's basically after the Rump, at the top of the buttock.

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Well I tried roasting the meat joint that I mentioned earlier in the thread. I roasted it at 55C in a roasting bag (as recommended by Nathan) to approximate a sous vide environment. I cooked it for 7 hours. The colour was a little darker than I would normally like but could still definitely be described as rare(ish). It was pretty moist still. However the big problem was that it was completely tough. Relatively tasty but far too tough to enjoy.

What do you think cook for longer next time? 7 hours already seems a pretty long time but it was a thick (10cm or so) piece of meat.

You are clearly using a cut of beef that is too tough to normally be served rare.

If I was doing this sous vide, in a water bath, then I would try 24 hours, and go longer if that does not work. Most cuts of beef that I have tried will be fine at 24 - 36 hours. There are some cuts that need to go even further - up to 72 hours.

If you are sealing in the oven and keeping at 55C, and sealing in an oven bag, then there is no reason that you couldn't try the 24-36 hours in your oven.

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Yeah, for sure it's a tough cut - it's normally used in daubes etc. I think I'll try it for 24 hours next time. The roasting bag was a good tip - I think it really helped with the moisture retention.

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Silverside is actually a little different to topside. It's cut from the back of the thigh, whereas the topside is the inner thigh muscle. Silverside is quite a bit tougher, with a coarser texture, and a thick 'silver' membrane running through its two overlapping muscles.

I've only tried a 24 hour 55c roast with the topside cut, but judging by how melt-in-the-mouth tender the results were I'd say it should work well on silverside, too. It might even benefit from the slow cook more.

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Digijam - thanks for the clarification - I only had a hazy idea where it was from myself.

I think that it's quite an exciting development if it works doing LTLT in a domestic oven since it would give access to sous-vide type cooking to the majority of people who don't have the specialised equipment.

Just a thought I wonder if when the 24hr electricity price is factored in if we'd be cheaper buying filet mignon!

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Just a thought I wonder if when the 24hr electricity price is factored in if we'd be cheaper buying filet mignon!

That's pretty much what my wife said. :wink:

Though I did get my revenge when a water bath so large it's got its own postcode turned up on the doorstep the other day. I've only just dared tell her I now need to buy an industrial-sized transformer before I'll even know if the damn thing works.

For approximating sous vide using a regular oven I found it's worth also placing the food in a stockpot filled with water, (either keeping the bag's tied area above water or using a cheap vac sealer), just to help smooth out oven temp fluctuations.

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Just a thought I wonder if when the 24hr electricity price is factored in if we'd be cheaper buying filet mignon!

That depends on your oven. In my area electricity is 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour. The maximum draw on a 1000 watt water bath for 24 hours would be $1.80

But this is a gross over estimate because the water bath is not drawing 1000 watts the whole time. It's probably less than 100 watts on average so the total electricity cost would be $0.18

Your oven has a higher maximum wattage, but what matters is how much it draws when maintaining the oven at 55C. It probably is no more than 100W on average, but of course it depends on your oven.

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Digijam - that's funny and yup it was my girlfriend that brought it up with me. Ever the pragmatist...

Nathan - don't know how much electricity costs here in London but I will be cooking the next joint at 55C in the oven in the interests of science and gastronomy regardless! Just not letting the girlfriend see... :wink:

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Well I tried roasting the meat joint that I mentioned earlier in the thread. I roasted it at 55C in a roasting bag (as recommended by Nathan) to approximate a sous vide environment. I cooked it for 7 hours. The colour was a little darker than I would normally like but could still definitely be described as rare(ish). It was pretty moist still. However the big problem was that it was completely tough. Relatively tasty but far too tough to enjoy.

What do you think cook for longer next time? 7 hours already seems a pretty long time but it was a thick (10cm or so) piece of meat.

I have run a series of sous vide experiments with rump roast and settled on 59C for 72 hrs. It still has a nice pink color and is fork tender.

I have also tried sous vide brisket at the same temperature and quit before I found a time long enough to get it tender. I finally decided that if I had to go beyond medium, I might as well braise it.

For low temperature cooking in a combi oven I have done chicken thighs at 165F for 5 hrs @ 100% humidity after 20 min @ 320F to get them up to temperature. After they were cooked I let them cool off a little, dried off the surface, painted them with evaporated skimmed milk, and browned them at 525F and 10% humidity for 3 min. The sugar and protein in the milk enhances the Maillard reaction and you get a nice result without overcooking. Without the milk you get very little browning of the skin due (I think) to the high fat, low protein, low sugar surface.

Doc


Edited by DocDougherty (log)

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For low temperature cooking in a combi oven I have done chicken thighs at 165F for 5 hrs @ 100% humidity after 20 min @ 320F to get them up to temperature.  After they were cooked I let them cool off a little, dried off the surface, painted them with evaporated skimmed milk, and browned them at 525F and 10% humidity for 3 min.  The sugar and protein in the milk enhances the Maillard reaction and you get a nice result without overcooking.  Without the milk you get very little browning of the skin due (I think) to the high fat, low protein, low sugar surface.

Doc

Interesting results. A combi oven can be used as a substitute for sous vide cooking if you use it in steam mode.

Obviously, a combi oven can be used to cook bag-sealed sous vide. However, in most cases you can also just cook the same food in open pans in a combi-oven and get results that are comparable to sous vide.

The only things that don't work this way are oxygen dependent - for example, endives and artichokes braise nicely sous vide (in a bag) and stay light colored, whereas they are prone to browning otherwise.

Combi oven "pseudo sous vide" is great if you have a combi oven but do not have a vacuum packer.

Note that combi ovens are NOT as accurate as a laboratory water baths - they typically vary by plus or minus a couple degrees during the thermostat cycle. This is not critical for a lot of sous vide cooking, but can be for some things - like salmon mi-cuit where a few degrees makes a difference. It also matters for rare red meat.

Best approach is to check your combi oven with a very good digital thermometer.

I do chicken thighs at much lower temperature 145F - either sous vide, combi oven in steam mode for 2 hours. I have tried as low as 136F (still within FDA guidelines).

Ultimately this is just personal preference. 5 hours is a long time, unless you have really tough chickens.

The milk is a good trick for browning. A sweet sauce will also carmelize well - for example teriyaki sauce works very well. Any other sweet sauce that will contribute sugar for carmelizing will work, such as a sweet barbeque sauce. In order to get the browning effect you want the sauce to be thin - thinning with water works well.

If these are skinless thighs that is a good approach. If you have the skin on then you can brown with a very hot radiant broiler / salamander, or a blow torch.

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Nathan, how long do you do duck breasts? If I remember right, you do them at about 54.4C, but for how long. I haven't had much luck with them. They usually come out tuff for me. I've got a good handle on everything else....but the magic here seems to elude me. Thanks.

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The milk is a good trick for browning.  A sweet sauce will also carmelize well - for example teriyaki sauce works very well.  Any other sweet sauce that will contribute sugar for carmelizing will work, such as a sweet barbeque sauce.  In order to get the browning effect you want the sauce to be thin - thinning with water works well.

If these are skinless thighs that is a good approach.  If you have the skin on then you can brown with a very hot radiant broiler / salamander, or a blow torch.

Nathan,

Actually in this particular experiment the chicken thighs were proxies for a turkey that is too big to bag and sous vide. The last time I tried browning a full size bird (12 lb) after cooking it for 8 hrs at 153F, it came out both tough and splotchy. The theory for this trail was that the concentrated pentose sugar and lysine in the evaporated milk would accelerate the Maillard reaction without having to carry a lot of extra residual sweet taste. This seems to prove true, but it is still possible to burn it (5 min @ 525°F will do that). With the high rate of convective heat transfer in the combi at 525°F I was able to get a fairly uniform color on the thighs (these were skin-on).

As for checking the average temperature of the combi, a #2 can of water with a foil cap wired on will do a good job of averaging the temperature when the oven is kept below 210. Just measure it with your digital thermometer after two hours.

Cheers,

Doc

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Nathan, how long do you do duck breasts?  If I remember right, you do them at about 54.4C, but for how long.  I haven't had much luck with them.  They usually come out tuff for me.  I've got a good handle on everything else....but the magic here seems to elude me.  Thanks.

This depends a lot on the duck breed. The three kinds of duck breast you most often find in the US are Moulard, Muscovy and Pekin. Moulard duck breasts are often sold as "magret de canard" are large breast that are surplus from foie gras ducks.

The moulard breasts often are tough. I have tried cooking them for a long time at 130F/54.4C but they frequently come out tough. Cooked at lower temperature - say 125F, they are a bit more rare, but are still tough. I've had more luck with Pekin. Muscovy seem to be someplace in the middle.

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Nathan,

Actually in this particular experiment the chicken thighs were proxies for a turkey that is too big to bag and sous vide. The last time I tried browning a full size bird (12 lb) after cooking it for 8 hrs at 153F, it came out both tough and splotchy.  The theory for this trail was that the concentrated pentose sugar and lysine in the evaporated milk would accelerate the Maillard reaction without having to carry a lot of extra residual sweet taste.  This seems to prove true, but it is still possible to burn it (5 min @ 525°F will do that).  With the high rate of convective heat transfer in the combi at 525°F I was able to get a fairly uniform color on the thighs (these were skin-on). 

Sounds like you have the technique down. When I do turkey I cook for a lot shorter time at a lot lower temperature - say 140F to 145F, and then hold it there for an hour after the core reaches that temperature.

Note that there are commercial products made to enhance browning - one is called "Gravy Master". It is basically non-sweet natural carmel coloring. It has a taste, but is not bad. Virually every food stylist or photographer uses it.

Industrial food supply companies have many different shades of liquid and solid caramel color.

If you still get blotches on poultry a blow torch works wonders.

As for checking the average temperature of the combi, a #2 can of water with a foil cap wired on will do a good job of averaging the temperature  when the oven is kept below 210.  Just measure it with your digital thermometer after two hours.

You are correct that the can will average out the fluctuating tempertaure. However, that is not the point. The can (and the food) see a fluctating temperature. This is OK for most foods but if you are cooking something temperature critical then the fluctations can spoil the effect. For example if you want rare beef, then a flucuation of 3 to 5 degrees can get you something different than you expected.

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Nathan, how long do you do duck breasts?  If I remember right, you do them at about 54.4C, but for how long.  I haven't had much luck with them.  They usually come out tuff for me.  I've got a good handle on everything else....but the magic here seems to elude me.  Thanks.

Duck breast sous vide is one of my favorite applications, along with rack of lamb. I use Dartagnan duck breasts with great results. I'll usually go anywhere from 3-5 hours at 55C with great results. Take off the skin and fat first, season, and vacuum.

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This depends a lot on the duck breed.  The three kinds of duck breast you most often find in the US are Moulard, Muscovy and Pekin.    Moulard duck breasts are often sold as "magret de canard" are large breast that are surplus from foie gras ducks.

The moulard breasts often are tough.  I have tried cooking them for a long time at 130F/54.4C but they frequently come out tough.    Cooked at lower temperature - say 125F, they are a bit more rare, but are still tough.  I've had more luck with Pekin.  Muscovy seem to be someplace in the middle.

You nailed it Nathan. I buy from Hudson Valley because I love their foie gras (when my diet will allow ;) ) and they are moulard breasts.... Guess I'll have to look for a new provider for the breasts.... Thanks.

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Hello, all. Many thanks for the great info in this thread. I recently got myself a immersion circulator and I'm interested in doing beef tri-tip. I was hoping to get some feedback to make sure I have the concepts down.

My plan is to trim it into a brick shape for more uniform cooking and easy carving. I have a Jacquard, so I'll give it the twice or thrice over with that. I've read through the 130F chart. Sorry if I missed it, but what kind of time would you suggest for tenderness? For bricks of about 3" x 3" x ? at 131F, I'm guessing somewhere around 10 hours?

Due to some transport issues, I was going to cook and chill for 2 days before finishing the meat on a grill.

Sound reasonable? Comments welcomed and appreciated!

~Tad

edit: added the bit about the Jacquard


Edited by FoodZealot (log)

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