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


adey73
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I always start with fresh, clean water but maybe that's because I have OCD. :biggrin:

Even if the food is not in direct contact with the water your hands/tools are. I don't want to transfer any little bugs to my food by mishandling it after messing in water that I have any doubts about. But that's just me.

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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Has anyone tried to make fried chicken using sous vide.. Brine the chicken, sous vide with Buttermilk and spices, then deep fry.. Sounds like it would be pretty damn good to me..

I ask this because one of my favorite Fried Chicken places in Manhattan, Forte Baden Baden, does rotisserie first, then deep fries..

Daniel, I've done fried chicken that way. Cook the chicken on the pink side since it will cook some more when you fry it. You need to drain the juices off of the SV chicken (save 'em for another purpose) and dry it so you can do the dredging / battering. I think it works better if you chill the SV'd chicken before battering. Frying will bring it back to temp, and cook the last bit of pink out (for those who are squeamish about pink chicken).

Crunchy on the outside, moist and steamy on the inside. :smile:

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I am have been serving these fried Sweatbreads at Bite Club and was thinking about doing SV with them first.. Though, I dont want to start experimenting while people are visitng.. I was thinking it would be great for the sweatbreads and then my wandered off to chicken..

Do you but buttermilk in the vacuum pack?

Thanks for sharing that, I will post when I do it..

Edited by Daniel (log)
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Has anyone tried to make fried chicken using sous vide.. Brine the chicken, sous vide with Buttermilk and spices, then deep fry.. Sounds like it would be pretty damn good to me..

Daniel, when I've made it, I've done a simple brine and then sous vide with lemon and herbs. Then I the dredge the chicken in buttermilk and a mixture of flour, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne. You could probably double dredge this if you want. I haven't tried cooling down the chicken first, but I might soon. I'm making fried chicken for Christmas dinner.

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So, after running into some difficulties sourcing ingredients (car broke down, snow storm, no duck legs on the store shelves, no short ribs to be found!) I was finally able to return to testing the PID controller and the whole SV cooking thing.

First the duck legs (which Kerry Beal supplied from her freezer!). After an initial 24-hour cure in salt, I packed them in FoodSaver bags with 2 tablespoons each of solid duck fat and into the rice cooker they went for 12 hours at 80C:

gallery_6903_111_60581.jpg

I started with water at close to target temperature (78C) and after an initial “wobble” with some overshoot to 81C the PID settled down to 80C after 30 minutes and I placed the packages in the water and left them alone for 12 hours.

Here’s the result:

gallery_6903_111_29774.jpg

I made duck rillettes with one leg and the second I intend to freeze unopened for later consumption.

The short ribs proved to be another challenge. Although the package from the store looked “right”, when I opened it the ribs literally fell apart:

gallery_6903_111_99391.jpg

gallery_6903_111_47103.jpg

I removed the bones, tied up the remaining ribs into what looked about the right thickness. I made a stock from the bones by browning them, deglazing with wine and cooking them low and slow in the oven for a couple of hours. I then defatted and reduced the stock, froze it and added the frozen stock to the package with the ribs.

This time I started with room temperature water in the rice cooker (22C) and again, after an initial overshoot to 56C, it settled after 30 mins to 54C and never waivered for the full 36 hours. I checked twice to ensure that the water level was OK and found that there was negligible evaporation.

Here’s the result:

gallery_6903_111_116848.jpg

gallery_6903_111_75582.jpg

The colour and the texture are strange to me. Closer to a steak or a roast than to a braise and I am not too fussy about the flavour. Despite cooking off the wine in the deglazing process, it remains a bit too prominent for my liking. However, I am going to slice these ribs up and serve them cold with a horseradish cream on crostini and get an opinion from a variety of people.

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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The colour and the texture are strange to me.  Closer to a steak or a roast than to a braise and I am not too fussy about the flavour.  Despite cooking off the wine in the deglazing process, it remains a bit too prominent for my liking.  However, I am going to slice these ribs up and serve them cold with a horseradish cream on crostini and get an opinion from a variety of people.

Yes, this is all characteristic of SV.

Low temperture SV, even for 36 hours, is not going to give you a classic braise texture. If you want that, you need to use traditional braising temperatures - 170F/77C to 190F/88C.

Low temperatures - say 130F/54C in tender meat will be medium rare - like a steak or roast. Tender cuts (say a fillet mignon) cooked for a short time (long enough to bring it to temperture) will have at texture exactly like conventional cooking (but with less gray overcooked meat at the edges). A tender cut cooked for a couple hours SV will be more tender than that, but still similar to conventional cooking.

If you cook a tough cut of meat at 130F for long enough - say 36 hours (I have done up to 72 hours on very tough cuts of meat) then you a unique texture - medium rare color and taste, and a tenderized texture that is not the same as a conventional cooking, nor is it like a braise.

Wine or other seasons in the bag can be overpowering - when the meat is in the bag there is no place else for the flavors to go, so they tend to affect the meat more. In conventional cooking the flavors often evaporate into the air (which is why it smells good in the kitchen).

Nathan

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I did a short rib with bone in for 70º C for 34 hours. I was planning on 24 hours, but I kinda forgot it was cooking.

The colour was just pink, the texture wonderful. Like braised, but a tiny bit more firm.

I browned the rib first, deglazed the pan with some red wine and veal glace viande. Cooked the wine and glace down to a thick syrup. I froze that on a piece of parchment and added it to the bag before sealing.

The PID unit was set at P=15, I=0, D=0 and it held the temperature steadily the entire time.

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I was wondering if all the folks with an Auber Instr. (or other) sous-vide set-up could post their basic setup and their thumb's-up thumb's down on the unit.

It seems like everyone is pretty happy so far.

Is there anyone unhappy with their purchase?

Thanks in advance!

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I'm using a big old crockpot with the sous vide magic PID. It's taken me a little while to figure out the settings, but thanks to the suggestions on this thread and help from manwith8ovens for whom I'm beta testing this unit, I think I have it working quite well.

No thumbs down so far. I'm very happy with what I've accomplished so far.

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The colour and the texture are strange to me.  Closer to a steak or a roast than to a braise and I am not too fussy about the flavour.  Despite cooking off the wine in the deglazing process, it remains a bit too prominent for my liking.  However, I am going to slice these ribs up and serve them cold with a horseradish cream on crostini and get an opinion from a variety of people.

Yes, this is all characteristic of SV.

. . .

Nathan - thanks - I totally understand about the different temps to get to braise-like quality but my first concern here is not so much the cooking but the testing - that's what I am doing - as I do more testing I hope to also develop some recipes that suit me. What I am trying to say is that cooking to please my palate is secondary to observing and reporting both objectively and subjectively on the set up that I have and the test requirements that I have been given. Your input is very valuable and I am stashing it away for when the testing is done and the cooking can begin. :biggrin:

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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I was wondering if all the folks with an Auber Instr. (or other) sous-vide set-up could post their basic setup and their thumb's-up thumb's down on the unit.

It seems like everyone is pretty happy so far.

Is there anyone unhappy with their purchase?

Thanks in advance!

I have the Auber sous vide controller and an 18qt Nesco roaster. Loving it so far, holds steady temp-wise, seems to be well insulated (the nesco, that is). So far I've done short ribs, salmon, a steak (don't remember the cut right now), and last night did the eggs at 150F, they were intriguing...

Guess that makes this a "thumbs up" :biggrin:

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I did my first experiments with pork tenderloin and was really happy (140F more or less for about 2 hrs) with the results. The meat was very tender and had a great mouthfeel.

One tenderloin was vac'ed with a few tablespoons of a marinade made of roughly equal parts soy sauce, rice vinegar and mirin rice wine and little bit of sugar. The result complimented the sweetness of the pork without overpowering it. The other tenderloin had been rolled in my favorite bbq dry rub and left to sit in the fridge for a few hours before being bagged (with a little bit of cider vinegar added to the bag) and cooked.

I also wanted to add that after a lot of experimentation with chicken breasts (which I prefer done at 140F for enough time to sterilize but not much longer than that since increasing the time doesn't seem to improve the sublime texture) that it is pretty clear that the quality of the chicken makes a much bigger difference in the result than any other form of preparation that I have tried with chicken breasts. So, if anyone is doing chicken breasts with standard grocery store brands, I recommend trying premium chicken from smaller providers. My wife is still raving about the chicken that we had the other night. It came out amazingly well despite the temperature swinging more than usual during cooking (between 138 and 146).

--Emonster

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I was wondering if all the folks with an Auber Instr. (or other) sous-vide set-up could post their basic setup and their thumb's-up thumb's down on the unit.

It seems like everyone is pretty happy so far.

Is there anyone unhappy with their purchase?

Thanks in advance!

I have tested it with a small rice cooker with good results. What I discovered was that if I put the rice cooker into "keep warm" mode, full power is just enough to hold 140°F which gives me an alternate way to more tightly control down around 130°F.

To date, my only concern is with the fragility of the sensor wiring. It does get crimped where it enters the cooker so I need to put some spacers in to keep the lid from resting on the wires.

I am going to use it to control a Hot Tray which has a tendency to overheat. But I am still looking for a good way to thermally couple the sensor to the surface with a low thermal inertia.

Doc

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I've used my Auber controller with a quite energetic hot plate (2000W/220V) and I initially had problems with overshooting since the reaction time of the plate is long and when it finally gets hot, it gets really hot for quite a long time (high effect and large thermal mass). However, setting P really high (250-300) and D to 60-90 seems to do the trick. Setting I to zero seems to work the best for me.

However I think I'm going to try a new setup with a simple immersion heater (of the USD 10 variety) and a small submersible pump.

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Has anyone actually experimented with tender beef cuts such as a strip or rib steak? I've been thinking of trying to do a steak sous-vide. I'm thinking it would be better not to go with a slow cooking approach but rather just an hour to bring the steak to temperature and then a quick aggressive sear in a cast iron skillet to form a crust on one side.

Thoughts?

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Has anyone actually experimented with tender beef cuts such as a strip or rib steak?  I've been thinking of trying to do a steak sous-vide.  I'm thinking it would be better not to go with a slow cooking approach but rather just an hour to bring the steak to temperature and then a quick aggressive sear in a cast iron skillet to form a crust on one side.

Thoughts?

I have cooked many market steaks/rib eyes and even some filets. I cook for about an hour or so at 128 and then toss the steak into a cast-iron skillet that has very hot (on a high gas flame for about 10 minutes prior to putting the steak in). It only takes 30 seconds per side for a very nice crust.

Thickness is important. With steaks 1.5 inches and thicker the result is amazing and much better than simple pan-frying. With steaks 1.25 inches and thinner, the results are less stunning.

With the thick steaks there is a softening of the fat that is otherwise hard to achieve when cooking to rare/medium-rare. I cooked a nice filet at my wife's behest and was amazed that it too improved by being brought to temp sous-vide before crusting.

--E

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I don't understand why thickness makes such a difference. Is cooking time the issue, because that should be about the same, right? I mean, I guess with more mass the thicker steak might take a little longer to come up to temperature, but can't a thinner steak be left to cook for just as long anyway. Reading through some of the earlier posts, my understanding is that there shouldn't be much difference between cooking a steak for an hour or cooking it for two.

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I think the point e-monster was making is that, with <1.5-inch steaks, once you finish browning the steak, the difference is not tremendously different from regular pan cooking. Personally, I'm not sure I agree with that. It depends on how you brown the steak, for one (blowtorch being recomomended if you want good external browning with minimum penetration). I'd also say that 1.5 inches as a reference point is a bit too thick. I've seen a marked difference using this technique for strip steaks as thin as one inch. Below maybe 0.75 inches you're really starting to get so thin that by the time you brown the steak (unless using a blowtorch) you have undone a lot of the careful temperature work you did with the sous vide process.

This is all assuming you would like to brown the exterior of the steak in a hot pan. If you're using a blowtorch or if you do not want to brown the exterior of the steak at all, you could get good results at most any thickness.

Where sous vide is really handy is when you have an extra-thick steak. Then you can get an even medium rare with a nice crust but otherwise very little penetration of "doneness" beyond medium rare that would be extremely-challenging-to-impossible using any other method.

--

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Suggestions from above:

First question (well..two questions): I'm thinking of cooking ox heart sous vide, since it works so well for tough muscles that are typically braised. What would my cooking time and temperature be for something like this? Also should I pre-slice it into the serving sizes or wait until it's done to cut it up?

Heart muscles is TOUGH because it is constantly in use. I would try 180F/82C for 8 hours. This ought to be enough, but you may need to take it longer. This will create a texture similar to a traditional braise, which is probably what you are familiar with.

I would cut it into serving portion and bag each separately.

You could cook it down to 140F/60C but then it would require days and that may not be what you are looking for.

Some experimentation will be necessary to get the results you want.

Just wanted to report that the ox heart cooked sous vide (per NathanM's 180F/82C for 8 hours suggestion) came out fabulous. The heart was sliced into about 1/2" thick slices. I kept it real simple, just s/p and some frozen cubes of stock. I cooked it the day before, then chilled and reheated just before serving with an orange-cognac gastrique and a mizuna salad with mandarins and crispy pig's ear (see below for more info on that).

Beautiful rose-pink color, fork tender. Although one of my dinner guests who is a big heart lover said it was maybe too tender--that he missed the chewiness. However another guest said you could have served it to anyone without telling them it was heart and they would have had no idea!

Edited by slkinsey (log)

--

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Hey Kerry, check THIS out. I'm going to have to get around to getting some form of SV equipment. I've looked at the PID/rice cooker stuff and the price is right but I keep telling myself to hold out for the immersion circulator.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I think the point e-monster was making is that, with <1.5-inch steaks, once you finish browning the steak, the difference is not tremendously different from regular pan cooking.  Personally, I'm not sure I agree with that.  It depends on how you brown the steak, for one (blowtorch being recomomended if you want good external browning with minimum penetration).  I'd also say that 1.5 inches as a reference point is a bit too thick.  I've seen a marked difference using this technique for strip steaks as thin as one inch.  Below maybe 0.75 inches you're really starting to get so thin that by the time you brown the steak (unless using a blowtorch) you have undone a lot of the careful temperature work you did with the sous vide process.

This is all assuming you would like to brown the exterior of the steak in a hot pan.  If you're using a blowtorch or if you do not want to brown the exterior of the steak at all, you could get good results at most any thickness.

Where sous vide is really handy is when you have an extra-thick steak.  Then you can get an even medium rare with a nice crust but otherwise very little penetration of "doneness" beyond medium rare that would be extremely-challenging-to-impossible using any other method.

That makes more sense.

So if I was just doing the sous-vide and no browning afterward, and I want the steak to wind up slightly less than med-rare, is 128 degrees the right water temperature or should I go a little lower? And if I wanted to brown in a skillet on just one side would that also be cause to lower the water temperature a degree or two?

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The best temperature to use probably depends on the quality/precision/stability of your set-up. My setup has a few degrees F of fluctuation (which I am hoping to reduce by adding a PID in the near future). I didn't want my tempt to drop below 125 while cooking. If your system is more accurate than mine, I would experiment to find what works best for you. When I do 128-130, I get something that I equate with the rare side of medium rare but distinctly not rare.

slkinsey has more or less summarized the reasoning behind my comment. I don't have a blowtorch; so, I can say nothing about what to do with a blowtorch.With pan-browning, I have found (with quite a few trials leading to the same results) that sous vide of a cut like a rib-eye that is 3/4 inch or less yields product not sufficiently different from pan fried steak to merit the effort. On cuts an inch or thicker the difference is pretty noticeable. My personal preference is for nice thick cuts in the 1.25 to 1.75 inch range. The softening of the fat all the way through is something that is hard to get without sous vide.

I was underwhelmed by my one attempt at sous-vide steak without browning afterward--because I really missed the flavors you get from the maillard reaction.

Browning on one side should work fine but I have no experience. I stopped experimenting once I found something that was so close to my ideal.

Anyway, that is just my experience filtered through my personal taste. I encourage experimentation so that you can fine-tune to your taste.

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