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Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 3)


adey73
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Much like I said, Roca/Bruges know and understand the SV process well. Wish it was the case with you, my dear pounce and e_monster...

Stooping to an ad hominem arguement here? Sort of cheating, no? ;)

I am not saying there is only one answer,  but rather suggest to do things right, or not at all.

This is a little contradictory. This thread is loaded with posts describing how people have been successful with the approach. Maybe you need to define "Right" so we understand you better.

I appreciate that you bought a lab bath, an expensive book and have poured over its pages. It's exciting stuff. You can see from the amount of input in this thread how much I enjoy SV. I am however a little puzzled why you feel you need to jump in and tell hundreds of people they are wrong in what they are doing.

Vacuum is not required. Like I said you just want to remove the air or gas. You do not need a vacuum for this. There are other techniques. Do you own a chamber vacuum sealer with gas flush?

You don't need a hermetic seal. You probably know this from poaching in oil. You can cook things in plastic wrap. It's a fact. Read up thread. Do I use a sealer? yes.

A temp fluctuation of one degree is not going to dramatically effect a 48 hour cook time. I appreciate the science aspect of SV and I do like things to be precise, but there is a little fuzzy factor in practice. It's good to be precise in a book. Its gives a base on which to be creative or deviate from for the Art in Culinary Arts.

Can you tell us the make and model of your immersion unit?

My soup looked like an above ground pool in a bad neighborhood.

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I would just like to put something out there...

I've recently cooked a pork tenderloin "sous vide" by wrapping it in plastic wrap and trying to keep a constant temp in a stock pot a la Michel Richard. While the results may not be scientific quality, it certainly shows that you can get fantastic results without ANY sous vide-specific equipment. I don't know a whole lot about the science behind sous vide, but I can tell you that for certain circumstances, it's not a big deal to lack vacuum, hermetic seal, circulation, or even strict temperature regulation. I wish I had photos to prove this, but I got perfectly acceptable color and delicious taste with no setup.

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think we are splitting hairs here.

horses for courses

If you are SViding on very regular basis or on a large or commercial level or doing very long cook times then invest in an immersion circulator.

But if you are at home, cooking for your family and friends, I think it would be hard to justify the expenditure unless you got money to burn.

I'm sure there are lots of us out here using pid or induction hobs, etc.

that are turning out perfectly good food that you would be very hard pressed to differentiate from food cooked using lab equipment.

Proof is in the eating.

If you are adamant that you would not be able to do SV without the lab equipment then so be it but seems that might be stiffling creativity?

For instance I am using an induction hob and and a Galtek shuttle chef (thermos pot) and getting excellent results.

of course excellent is a subjective thing

so all IMHO

but i have a haake c10 IC ordered

so hopefully I can do some tests next weekend

if i do i will post my results.

Edited by origamicrane (log)

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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Throughout 14 episodes of Top Chef season 3, Hung employed crude sous vide methods, using stove top burner, what looks to be an analog candy thermometer, and possibly without vacuum. His food amazed the judges, which eventually led him to win season 3. He used sous vide and spoke of sous vide so often that the editors of Top Chef season 3 pieced together a segment of Hung saying "sous vide" countless times in jest.

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I think he used a Food Saver for the duck breast (ie sort-of-vacum) in the finale, but otherwise it was a stock pot and a candy thermometer. I think one comment he got on the duck breast was "three star food"", perhaps even from Eric Ripert?

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First, and foremost: vacuum in SV is essential. The whole point of SV cooking is to eliminate oxygen, and, as such prevent reaction of oxidation, which dramatically affects color (esp. when you are cooking veggies) and taste ( esp. when you are dealing with fatty proteins). But, good luck cooking fish wrapped in plastic...

And a foodsaver doesn't vacuum? Nothing wrong with typical home setups here.

Also, you absolutely do need a seal - paramount concern here is to prevent bacteria-rich cooking liquid from getting into your vacuum bag, especially if you are cooking for an extended period of time.

Again, why doesn't the foodsaver seal?

Second point is temperature. If I may, this is an exact quote Roca/Brugues (those two fellas kindda know what they are talking about, it seems like... biggrin.gif ): "... the power comes from the vacuum, but the control lies in a mastery of time and temperature-this is what leads to the prime objective, precise cooking values for each ingredient." ( "Sous-Vide Cuisine", Montagud Editores, 2007, p. 86)

The idea here is precision. If you allow cooking temps to fluctuate, at some point the internal temp is going to get away from you desired range - imagine rocking a boat: if you did it, would you be able to stop it at once? If memory serves right, nathanm made a similar observation in his early posts.

Third point is circulation. If your water doesn't circulate, then you are going to have different temps in different areas of your cooking vessel, which brings me back to the point of precision. Here is another quote: '... maximum variation of + 1C/1.8F, which is an acceptable margin for sous-vide cooking." ( "

Sous-Vide Cuisine", Montagud Editores, 2007, p. 95)

I don't have a circulator in my setup, however I get less than 1F temperature variation simply using the Auber and the Commercial Pro 25 cup rice cooker (after it has come to temp). Unless you really need it to be dead on in a very short period of time or have a less "ideal" container, even circulation isn't necessary.

Why again do I need a $900+ immersion circulator?

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You absolutely do NOT need a circulator. The reason circulators are used in labs is because they're putting a couple dozen vials in what amounts to a hotel pan and the heater is a coil off in the corner. Since the surface area of the water is so great making it easy for it to cool. Since the heat is not being applied homogenously underneath the pan it means without circulation you have to rely on conduction to transfer the heat. Not good enough when you need 0.5F temp differential throughout the water.

In home situations where you are using a crock pot, or a kettle, or a homemade bucket with an element installed near the bottom you have two things going for you. A high insulating vessel and convection to transfer the heat.

You do not need a circulator. You don't even need a PID. A thermostat will do as long as you can program it to within a degree or two.

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I don't have a circulator in my setup, however I get less than 1F temperature variation simply using the Auber and the Commercial Pro 25 cup rice cooker (after it has come to temp). Unless you really need it to be dead on in a very short period of time or have a less "ideal" container, even circulation isn't necessary.

Why again do I need a $900+ immersion circulator?

Are you using the display from the Auber unit as your measure or are you measuring the temperature at different points in your pot independently? If not, while I do believe you can acheive 1F stability at the probe, I somewhat doubt that the actual range of variation throughout the rice is less than 1F without circulation.

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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Are you using the display from the Auber unit as your measure or are you measuring the temperature at different points in your pot independently? If not, while I do believe you can acheive 1F stability at the probe, I somewhat doubt that the actual range of variation throughout the rice is less than 1F without circulation.

I'm reading the display, but this is while moving it and holding it in different places in the rice cooker. If I'm just looking at one point, it *never* changes value once settled.

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I don't quite recall where it was posted (not in this thread), but at least one person using the Auber/rice cooker combination reported very good stability throughout the water bath when nothing was in there, but once the food was added and various parts of the bath were sampled with a separate thermometer, there was temperature variation on the order of several degrees.

Whether or not this is important to someone is a matter of personal preference. Fundamentally we're talking about (usually) wrapping food in an impermeable covering of some kind, sucking (some/most of) the air out of the covering and then cooking it at a (reasonably) precise temperature. Each one of these variables is associated with a certain cost, and also with a certain range of possible effects. It is, of course, possible to make "sous vide-style" (I would argue that it's not properly called "sous vide" without any "vide") using a stock pot over a conventional gas burner, lots of plastic wrap and a thermometer. One can, and plenty of people have, obtain very tasty results this way. On the other hand, there is a certain amount of control, and a range of effects that are available to the cook using a precision recirculating water bath and a chamber vacuum that are not available to the guy using the stock pot and thermometer. In between those two extremes there exists a variety of different price points and associated ranges of possible effects. One simply has to choose. Fundamentally this is not that different from choosing conventional cookware: It is perfectly possible to create an amazing dish using a $10 thin stainless steel pan. You don't need a $200 stainless-lined heavy copper pan. But the $200 pan is capable of doing some things that the $10 pan cannot do, and it offers greater reliability and predictability.

I think the Auber PID/rice cooker combination is a great solution for those who don't mind spending $150 on a setup but aren't comfortable with snagging a circulator off eBay for $400 or more. It's ridiculous to say that sous vide cooking isn't possible with this setup. At the same time, it's not correct to say that the PID/rice cooker setup offers the same range of effects, reliability, predictability and flexibility as using a precision recirculating water bath heater. But, so long as the rig you have allows you to do all the things you want to do within your price point, and you're happy with it -- who cares?

--

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I am using the Auber and a rice cooker and I HAVE sampled the temps including surface temp using a probe thermometer and they do not vary by more than a fraction of a degree. I am not a scientist nor do I have scientific equipment but that was my finding . I checked over many hours and over short times and the temperature remained stable.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Here's the post I was thinking of:

As an experiment (until the immersion circulator I won on eBay arrives), I have set up a 6-quart crock-pot (on low heat) with a PID controller and let it stabilize at 141°F.  I then put in a single thawed (vacuum packed) chicken breast.  The temperature reading on the PID stayed nice and steady the whole time. 

After one hour I checked the water temperature with my favorite thermapen, and found that the temperature ranged from 136°F to 141°F.  The 141°F, of course, was at the temperature probe of the PID (on the bottom of the crockpot) and the 136°F was near the surface in the center of the pot. 

At least in my crockpot, the food seemed to really hamper the normal convection currents in the pot.  Before I put in any food, the water temperature varied by less than 1°F when I measured it at various points with my thermapen.

--

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I've been looking around online for Immesion Circulators unit in the UK.

thought this might be helpful to uk egulleteers

There are a several lab suppliers that sell new IC unit

http://www.fisher.co.uk

http://www.coleparmer.co.uk

http://www.cliftonfoodrange.co.uk/

http://www.cuisinetechnology.com/thermal-circulators.html

http://www.julabo-sous-vide.com/products1.htm

http://www.julabo.de/session_uk.asp

http://ecomcat.jencons.co.uk/action_catalo...asp?sat=2&saa=3

http://www.camlab.co.uk/

http://www.grantsousvide.com/checkout.aspx

the cheapest new IC unit I found was a Haake C10 at £496 from Fisher

https://extranet.fisher.co.uk/insight2_uk/g...tSetPosition=14

You could try Ebay where I got a cheap new C10 :laugh:

or i also found this site for used scientific equipment website.

www.thebranfordgroup.com

They actually got a lot of waterbaths and IC units on the Syngenta auction ending next month.

Some of the photos of the equipment look pretty crudey!! but there were a few IC and water bath units that looks reasonably clean and new.

if anyone else knows of a cheaper new IC unit please let me know :)

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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Vacuum is not required. Like I said you just want to remove the air or gas. You do not need a vacuum for this. There are other techniques. Do you own a chamber vacuum sealer with gas flush?

You don't need a hermetic seal. You probably know this from poaching in oil. You can cook things in plastic wrap. It's a fact. Read up thread. Do I use a sealer? yes.

A temp fluctuation of one degree is not going to dramatically effect a 48 hour cook time. I appreciate the science aspect of SV and I do like things to be precise, but there is a little fuzzy factor in practice. It's good to be precise in a book. Its gives a base on which to be creative or deviate from for the Art in Culinary Arts.

OK, allow me to retort...

Vacuum is not required in SV cooking. And, ice is not required for ice skating. :-)

My dear pounce, saying something over and over doesn't make it right, no matter how many times you've repeated it.

Would you please explain to us WHY vacuum in SV doesn't matter? And, what other gas besides oxygen are you trying to remove from your cooking bag?

Again, vacuum (the "vide") in Sous-vide is essential. You need to remove oxygen to prevent food from spoiling, changing color and more than anything - preserving taste. Some cooks are able to fill their bags with non-reactive gas, but that goes well beyond home and restaurant cooking, and remains the prerogative of industrial production.

As far as sealing/cooking in plastic wrap: if you don't have a seal, and soak meat in warm water for hours at a time - you will have achieved a successful bacterial multiplication. Enjoy your adventure in food poisoning! If you are cooking fish, yes - the time/bacterial load are not large enough to develop, but shellfish may be a different story, and meat will spoil in just a few hours. You use a sealer yourself, so why are you trying to argue the seal issue?

FYI, I don't own a vacuum chamber - the least expensive unit I saw was $1900 - well beyond of what I am willing to spend right now, but I will invest in one of those some day, mostly for cured meat/sausage making, as well as SV.

Temperature issue comes down to what kind of consistency you are trying to achieve: it may be more important in a restaurant set-up, than at home.

We are all here to learn form each other, and any information is important, and any opinion is welcome. It's not about who is better, but how to do the best we can. That having been said, one needs a proper wok and sufficient heat to stir fry, exact measurements for baking, and the right equipment to SV. Don't you agree?

I don't want to end up in the proverbial land where any poaching is called "sous-vide", but rather aim to preserve and develop the art of that approach to cooking. Some may disagree... Well, those same people would most likely mix powdered wasabi with soy sauce and pour it over overcooked fish and call it a great sushi experience. I just hope it's not you.

Edited by MikeTMD (log)

"It's not from my kitchen, it's from my heart"

Michael T.

***************************************

My flickr collection

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My dear pounce, saying something over and over doesn't make it right, no matter how many times you've repeated it.

Would you please explain to us WHY vacuum in SV doesn't matter? And, what other gas besides oxygen are you trying to remove from your cooking bag?

Do you think you have any other pressure than your existing atmospheric pressure on the bag once it's sealed? You have only removed the air or anything else that escaped. I think there is a common misconception about SV and whether there is any vacuum in the bag after it's been sealed.

As far as sealing/cooking in plastic wrap: if you don't have a seal, and soak meat in warm water for hours at a time - you will have achieved a successful bacterial multiplication. Enjoy your adventure in food poisoning!   If you are cooking fish, yes - the time/bacterial load are not large enough to develop, but shellfish may be a different story, and meat will spoil in just a few hours.  You use a sealer yourself, so why are you trying to argue that issue?

Not sure where you are getting all this bacteria. Do you cook in pond water? :blink: If you are cooking food to safe temps in the bag your tap water in the bath should also be safe. This isn't some 80's hot tub party. heh.

I'm mearly stating fact about using plastic wrap. If I didn't own a sealer I'd use it for things that required short cooking times. Why not if it works?

FYI, I don't own a vacuum chamber - the least expensive unit I saw was $1900, well beyond of what I am willing to spend right now, but I will invest in one of those some day, mostly for cured meat/sausage making, as well as SV.

If taken to the nth degree one might say you are not being correct or right in not using a chamber vacuum with gas flush. I'm just playing with you here, but seriously if you are using a FoodSaver or similar you are most definately not getting vacuum in the bag or really all of the available oxygen out of the bag. You can get a chamber machine for under 1k adequate for home use. That's still high in my opinion, but less than what you may have seen so far.

Temperature issue comes down to what kind of consistency you are trying to achieve: it may be more important in a restaurant set-up, than at home.

Thanks for qualifying this. I think I understand now that you are ok with the various techniques people are using at home.

..That having been said, one needs a proper wok and sufficient heat to stir fry, exact measurements for baking, and the right equipment to SV. Don't you agree?

Can you define the proper equipment for SV if it's not too much trouble? Is it a Lab IC and Chamber vacuum sealer? Or do you allow a heater, controller, circulator and some means of removing air and keeping the bath liquid away from the food?

* adding up thread reference

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...dpost&p=1069360

Edited by pounce (log)

My soup looked like an above ground pool in a bad neighborhood.

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Do you think you have any other pressure than your existing atmospheric pressure on the bag once it's sealed? You have only removed the air or anything else that escaped. I think there is a common misconception about SV and whether there is any vacuum in the bag after it's been sealed.

The pressure in a properly sealed vacuum bag is always less than the atmospheric pressure, that's just basic physics and the definition of vacuum. However, in SV our objective is not to depressurize a cooking bag, but rather to remove air/oxygen. The reason is to prevent aerobic microorganisms ( i.e. the ones that need air to function) from multiplying, and thus spoiling the food. The drawback is that anaerobic flora (microorganisms that can only live without oxygen) would flourish, so we have to cook things relatively quickly ( e.g. fish), or for an extended period of time (e.g. meat), because the SV cooking temps are relatively low, and it takes a lot longer to kill harmful anaerobic bacteria ( it's similar to canning/preserving, which is also cooking under vacuum, BTW)

Not sure where you are getting all this bacteria. Do you cook in pond water?  :blink:  If you are cooking food to safe temps in the bag your tap water in the bath should also be safe. This isn't some 80's hot tub party. heh.

Microorganisms are native to food products, for example - Salmonella is associated with chicken/poultry, E. Coli contaminates beef, etc. Boiling would kill most of those "bugs", but in SV we typically don't get into the boiling water temps (100C), so the solution is to remove ALL air and ALL oxygen ( 19-21% of air content), and pretty much "choke" the harmful microorganisms to death.

If taken to the nth degree one might say you are not being correct or right in not using a chamber vacuum with gas flush. I'm just playing with you here, but seriously if you are using a FoodSaver or similar you are most definately not getting vacuum in the bag or really all of the available oxygen out of the bag. You can get a chamber machine for under 1k adequate for home use. That's still high in my opinion, but less than what you may have seen so far.

FoodSaver wouldn't create the full vacuum, and the FS seal is somewhat weak, which is why it's too risky to use it for SV cooking. Where did you see a vacuum chamber machine for $1000? I want it!

Can you define the proper equipment for SV if it's not too much trouble? Is it a Lab IC and Chamber vacuum sealer? Or do you allow a heater, controller, circulator and some means of removing air and keeping the bath liquid away from the food?

Proper equipment is any device/devices that would create full vacuum, support the vacuum seal, maintain constant temperature and circulation. Water bath is just as good as any immersion circulator, steamers would work as well as autoclaves. If a SV vacuum bag leaks - I am not serving whatever we cooked in it. Hopefully, you understand why.

My next project is to SV shellfish. Suggestions, please!

Edited by MikeTMD (log)

"It's not from my kitchen, it's from my heart"

Michael T.

***************************************

My flickr collection

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Yes, check your FoodSaver manual, it'd would tell you the pressure range for your particular model. A good indicator is freezer burns: if you see them - there is no vacuum.

"It's not from my kitchen, it's from my heart"

Michael T.

***************************************

My flickr collection

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My next project is to SV shellfish. Suggestions, please!

Buy a chamber vacuum sealer and a better IC or risk certain death!! :raz:

Did you read the referenced thread/post?

Edited by pounce (log)

My soup looked like an above ground pool in a bad neighborhood.

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FoodSaver wouldn't create the full vacuum, and the FS seal is somewhat weak, which is why it's too risky to use it for SV cooking.

That's an interesting statement. Do you have any data to back this up?

Yes, check your FoodSaver manual, it'd would tell you the pressure range for your particular model. A good indicator is freezer burns: if you see them - there is no vacuum.

What i mean is do you have data indicating that using a foodsaver instead of a chamber machine is inherently UNSAFE.

On top of that, i've had steaks in the freeze for over a year, and there is no freezer burn whatsoever.

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IF you are that worried, double seal and double bag it

I usually put two seals on with my foodsaver, but the bags (and vacuum) are perfectly OK.

If you are that concerned about botulism make sure the food is acid or ina a mildly acid sauce.

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"Microorganisms are native to food products, for example - Salmonella is associated with chicken/poultry, E. Coli contaminates beef, etc. Boiling would kill most of those "bugs", but in SV we typically don't get into the boiling water temps (100C), so the solution is to remove ALL air and ALL oxygen ( 19-21% of air content), and pretty much "choke" the harmful microorganisms to death."

I highly suggest you purchase a copy of On Food and Cooking if that is truly your understanding of food adulteration.

"Vacuum is not required in SV cooking. And, ice is not required for ice skating.... Again, vacuum (the "vide") in Sous-vide is essential."

The given name of an entity or action does not necessarily define or limit its action. I played American football this past weekend, but I didn't use my foot.

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Microorganisms are native to food products, for example - Salmonella is associated with chicken/poultry, E. Coli contaminates beef, etc. Boiling would kill most of those "bugs", but in SV we typically don't get into the boiling water temps (100C), so the solution is to remove ALL air and ALL oxygen ( 19-21% of air content), and pretty much "choke" the harmful microorganisms to death.

There are a couple of issues with your statement.

1) Bacteria is killed by a combination of time and temperature, not temperature alone. Cooking a chicken breast at 140 for 1 hour is just as safe as cooking it to 212.

2) Many bacteria, including one of the deadliest (botulism) is anaerobic, meaning instead of "choking" the microorganism to death, you're actually making it quite hospitable.

I'm sure many people here don't mind answering questions, but making statements like this one, and the one categorically stating that somehow the vacuum pulled by a foodsaver machine makes cooking sous vide with it unsafe, demonstrate little understanding of the topic and little effort of research in this thread.

I know for sure that the time/temperature issue has been covered MANY times by our resident expert NathanM.

jason

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