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Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment, 2012


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Over the last few days, I was doing an experiment to try to recreate the Hainanese Chicken Rice that I had several times while in Singapore a couple of weeks ago. It's a bit time consuming, but I think this method worked really well, and eating last night, was VERY close to the real deal. First, I was able to get a whole chicken with head, neck and feet still on. I got a pot big enough to hold the chicken and filled with water just to cover. Bring this to a boil with sliced ginger, green onion, a head of garlic, peppercorns and a few shallots. While this is heating, rub the chicken all over with salt and massage into the skin. This "exfoliates" and removes and stray feathers, and other random gunk while also helping tighten the skin. Rinse well. Once the water is up to a boil, lower in the chicken breast side down and let slowly simmer for 10-15 minutes. At this point, I'm only trying to tenderize the skin, not cook the meat itself. After the time is up, remove the chicken and put in ice bath. Now, add the cooking liquid and veg. to a pressure cooker, along with 2 cut-up silky chickens. These will be sacrificial chickens for the broth. Once cooled, cut up the whole chicken into parts and add the head, neck, wing tips, back and feet to the pressure cooker. Pressure cook for about an hour to 1.5 hours, then turn off heat and cool naturally until you can open the pot. Strain and cool the liquid, reserving the fat. Now we can get to cooking the chicken! Put each section of the now cut-up whole chicken into a bag and add some of the broth - maybe 1/2 - 3/4 cup per bag? Cook the breasts in 142F bath (140F to core) and leg/thigh in 150F bath until pasteurized. I actually gave a bit extra time to allow for any possible bacterial growth during the simmer/ice stage. Once pasteurized, chill the bags in an ice bath until you're ready to use them. You should have plenty of broth left over from the pc for cooking the rice, and you'll get more broth out of the bags once you open them - definitely don't throw that liquid out! I brought it to a boil to solidify the proteins, then strained and added back into my main broth pot to be recycled for cooking more chicken and cooking the rice. If you make this dish once in a while, the broth will get more and more concentrated chicken flavor - so I imagine you could top up with water from time to time to stretch it a bit further.

The skin of the chicken done this way is soft and velvety - just like the real thing, and the meat was juicy, tender and flavorful. I will definitely do this many more times - it really took me back....

Thanks for this. I LOVE hainanese chicken rice, but have never had it in Singapore. I will definitely try your method.

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let me know if you want tips on cooking the rice, or making the chili sauce...

YES!

For my rice, i saute it a little in some chicken fat with garlic, then cook it with chicken stock and if i have them, some pandan leaves.

The sauce i serve is the one from Thai Food by David Thompson. Very good.

Would love any advice on rice or sauces.

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To me, some of the key flavors are ginger and sesame oil. For the rice, I wash 2C jasmine rice, then soak for 10-15 min. Mince fine 2 cloves garlic, and grate 1" piece of ginger. Fry in a couple Tbs chicken fat garlic and ginger, and drained rice until fragrant. If you have a rice cooker, put everything into the rice cooker with 1 pandan leaf, bruised) and 2.5C chicken cooking broth, plus salt. When plating, place sliced chicken on top of rice mound, then pour over the top some of the chicken cooking liquid (with coagulated proteins removed) combined with toasted sesame oil. Most places' liquid was slightly thickened and light brown in color. I don't know if they added some xanthan to keep the sesame oil from separating, or maybe they thickened with cornstarch and then just kept warm/room temp. For chili sauce, I used maybe 4T jarred sambal oelek, 2 cloves garlic, a 3-4" piece ginger (grated), juice of about 1 lime, a touch of sugar, salt, 1t sesame oil, a couple Tbs hot chicken cooking broth all pureed pretty smooth. Then add sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) to taste.

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The Quay method for crisp-skilled sv pork belly didn't work for me. The pork itself is very nice but the skin didn't crisp up, even when I gave it more time in the oven than stated in the recipe. I suspect using the broiler might be a better idea.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Chicken wings and either sous vide or confit: I want to grill some wings and end up with more of a crispy/fried texture to the skin than what one would normally get from grilling wings. Is this possible?

http://www.seriousea...appetizers.html shows that drying out the skin, and using baking powder or soda, helps to achieve a near-deep-fried quality to the skin even if the wings are baked in the oven.

http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/01/the-food-lab-how-to-make-best-buffalo-wings-fry-again-ultimate-crispy-deep-fried-buffalo-wings.html shows that extreme crispiness can be achieved upon deep fry, by confit-ing the wings first. What happens if you do the confit and then put the wings on the grill?

No particular need to do this, but I am very interested in pulling off something (I feel) that is unique.

Edited by HowardLi (log)
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What about skin side down in a pan of rendered pork fat?

Maybe. I probably shouldn't have played along with the recipe when it said to drain the fat from the pan before flipping the pork over and roasting it.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Maybe for a whole lot of sensible reasons, there's not a whole lot to be found on sous vide lobster. I mean, yes, sure, on one level there is--go to Google or whatever, type in 'sous vide lobster' and hit the necessary button and, sure, you'll find results--but it's not like, hey, when you search for 'sous vide [otherfoodstuff]' you find lots of recipes to real honest-to-God cookbooks and lengthy eG and Chowhound threads. With a sv lobster search you get lots of blog posts ... and, as you can imagine, a very large range of ideas--none of which you're quite sure can be trusted at all--on how to approach the task. 59.5-60C, like a couple of the entries in the SV Index thread suggest, is mentioned here and there, but for how long? Focusing on recipes that specifically talk about small lobster tails from small lobsters, you'll hear mention of bathing them for anything from 5 minutes to about a hour. Then there are a whole lot of guys who reckon it's all about the 45-46C range, altho' there are fewer in this camp than the ~60C mob, seemingly. I caught a reference to something in Modernist Cuisine but as I don't have that, well, I was on my own. With my haul of blog posts.

So I rolled the dice. 59.5C, 20 minutes. My girlfriend seemed to like it well enough but me ... well, I'm not a lobster fan on any level at the best of times. Another vote in favour came from a cat: he darted, unfinished piece of lobster in mouth, under my car to enjoy some alone time. I'm unsure if it was a success or not. It was the first bit of sved seafood I didn't enjoy (but even at really nice restaurants, I might eat the lobster course, but it's bound to be my least favourite). But still, I guess someone, at some point, who doesn't own MC or doesn't think to refer to it (and I would refer it over me or any of those random bloggers if I could), I'd suggest ~60C for ~20 minutes as a starting point. I suspect lobster wouldn't stand up too well to being held at that temperature for a long time. I'd be curious to know why there are two temperature camps--~45C vs ~60C--when no one seems to be suggesting to cook it, ever, for more than a hour. I mean, even some of those 45C guys are pushing for something in the 15-20 minute range.

And, yes, I did remove it from the meat from the tail using the Keller method: bring 7.5L water/110g white vinegar (or, you know, 3.75/55, etc) to boil then pour over lobster. Sit for a couple of minutes then plonk the lobster into ice water. He suggests twisting the tail ... feathery bit ... thing off and poking a finger into the resulting hole, pushing the meat out through the fat end of the tail, but if you're using a ~500g tail like me that hole is going to be small. Careful work with kitchen shears on the shell does the trick.

Edited by ChrisTaylor (log)

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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I did a butter poached lobster and talked about it here:

http://fabulousfoodfanatic.com/2011/01/30/lucky-lobster-lover-lives-to-eat-her-words-and-lobster-as-well/

It was delicious and a perfect way to do lobster as part of a dinner party meal because you can hold it until the last minute, etc. But mostly, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVED the resulting lobster butter which I could use to dress pasta, make a sauce with and be creative otherwise (fresh corn on the cob with lobster butter???).

I've got one body and one life, I'm going to take care of them.

I'm blogging as the Fabulous Food Fanatic here.

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Tried duck confit using the Modernist Cuisine curing mix. No extra fat added. 80C, 12-14 hours-ish (didn't keep count, but it was a bit more than 12). Nice. I mean, me, I could smear this on toast--possibly buttered with, I don't know, pate de foie gras--and be happy. Dead. But happy. Maybe with a fried egg and all. Madness. Coming soon to a 'breakfast--most important meal of the day' thread near you.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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I'd be curious to know why there are two temperature camps--~45C vs ~60C--when no one seems to be suggesting to cook it, ever, for more than a hour. I mean, even some of those 45C guys are pushing for something in the 15-20 minute range.

Just a few thoughts...

I think it's in the Fat Duck cookbook (when Heston writes about his langoustine lasagne) where he mentions that the enzymes in seafood will rapidly turn the flesh to mush when heated, so the cooking time for seafood has to be very precise (langoustine is scampi to us antipodeans). Basically, seafood lives in temperatures approximately around 0 degrees C, and all of the seafood's enzymes and biochemistry etc etc have evolved to work optimally at those temperatures. Sticking seafood in the fridge is not actually storing it at a lower temperature than when it was alive, so it degrades rapidly. This is quite different from a cow, whose body temperature is up to 40C, and which has evolved a completely different biochemistry for that temperature. Sticking some beef in the fridge at 4C is a big drop from 40C and so the chemical processes slow down dramatically and the beef lasts for longer. So this is why beef lasts longer in the fridge than seafood, and also longer than chicken and pork (chickens and pigs have lower core body temperatures than cows, although it's still in the 30s). So basically - cooking seafood for too long will turn it to mush, as it's basically decomposing in the bag.

The difference between the 45C and the 60C camps may come down to food safety, but also texture. Those who don't care about pasteurisation - and seafood cooked at 45C is no more risky than eating sushi - may prefer the texture or even colour of food at 45C. Using a water bath over 55C will help reduce any pathogens, providing the seafood is cooked long enough for the core temperature to reach that point.

Personally, I've experimented with salmon cooked around the 40C mark and although it's interesting, I simply prefer it cooked hotter. I'm not worried about the safety issue, but I do prefer eating something that feels hot rather than tepid. Same with scallops - although I think I'll give them another go at 40C just to check...

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Just a few thoughts...

.... Basically, seafood lives in temperatures approximately around 0 degrees C, and all of the seafood's enzymes and biochemistry etc etc have evolved to work optimally at those temperatures. ...

Hi Chris,

You seem to be implying that all or most seafood lives in 0C water. This belief is mistaken. A lot of of seafood -- both wild and farmed comes from water considerably warmer than that. Even fish and shellfish from tropical waters decompose very quickly.

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Just a few thoughts...

.... Basically, seafood lives in temperatures approximately around 0 degrees C, and all of the seafood's enzymes and biochemistry etc etc have evolved to work optimally at those temperatures. ...

Hi Chris,

You seem to be implying that all or most seafood lives in 0C water. This belief is mistaken. A lot of of seafood -- both wild and farmed comes from water considerably warmer than that. Even fish and shellfish from tropical waters decompose very quickly.

I fish along the Eastern seaboard of the US and can tell you that striped bass fishing is best when the water temperature is between 15C - 20C. Tuna are found on the edge of the continental shelf in 25C waters. Florida waters are always warmer and the Gulf of Mexico even higher. I have caught huge trout in Wyoming where the water was close to 0C at 2000 feet depth in the Flaming Gorge and the fish stuck to yours hands when you got them to the surface, but that is the exception rather than the rule.

Paul Eggermann

Vice President, Secretary and webmaster

Les Marmitons of New Jersey

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Wow, you're totally correct. I should check these things before bashing out a reply.

A few Google searches suggest the average body temperature of a cold-blooded fish is about 12C, and tuna are classified as warm-blooded, and have had their body temperature measured as high as 37C. So the 0C thing was wrong.

However the difference in body temperature between cold-blooded seafood and warm-blooded mammals still explains why there are no suggestions to cook lobster for long periods of time.

We're moving house so all my books are in boxes somewhere, but I'm keen to track down the bit about langoustine cooking time and temperature again to see what else was said.

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Yesterday I tried making corned beef sous vide. After reading a ton of suggestions across the web, I decided on 180F for 10 hours. I usually make it in the slow cooker.

I always start by first rinsing it well, trimming the majority of the fat off, followed by an overnight soak in cold water in the fridge to reduce the salt. I did the same here, then I patted the meat dry and put it in the vacuum bag. I sprinkled the spice packet into the bag, trying to get it evenly spread on both sides of the meat, then vacuumed and sealed.

After 10 hours the meat had produced a lot of liquid, which I saved. The meat itself was tender, but also more dense than when I make it in the slow cooker. My family and I prefered this texture over the slow cooker method. Another benefit was that it was much easier to slice without it shredding. It was also just a tad spicier, also a good thing.

When I make it in the slow cooker I add carrots at the start and cabbage for the last hour. This time I took the reserved liquid from the bag and put it in a large bowl. I added about a quarter of a cabbage to the bowl and microwaved it for three minutes. The cabbage was slightly crisp and the broth gave it the perfect flavor. A success. There was a lot of leftover meat and since I didn't make much cabbage it was all gone, but I saved the broth and will repeat making more cabbage with the leftovers, but this time I will add carrots and see how that goes.

My family and I agree that this is our new corned beef method!

Mark

My eG Food Blog

www.markiscooking.com

My T shirt site: Guy Bling

My NEW Ribs site: BlasphemyRibs.com

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Looks like sous vide is ripe to take off in the Australian market.

Breville, which is an Australian home kitchen electrical supplier similar to Cuisinart appears to be rebadging the sous vide supreme for the Australian domestic user. By putting it out under their own label, they should achieve a reasonable market penetration using their existing distribution channels. Report here.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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

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Just an update on my quest for Hainanese Chicken Rice in NYC... made a fast dinner last night (with some prep over the weekend) using chicken thighs. Bagged 2 skin-on thighs per bag with about a half cup of previously made broth (see older posts for method). 147F for 1.5 hours, then chilled and stored in the refrigerator until last night. Dropped the bags in a 140F bath to retherm.... results - the chicken skin was very silky and tender, although there was some unrendered fat in some pockets, most of which may have been able to be removed before cooking. The meat itself was super tender and juicy, and there was no trace of pink which can weird some people out. All in all another hit, especially useful on a busy weekday night...

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Just an update on my quest for Hainanese Chicken Rice in NYC... made a fast dinner last night (with some prep over the weekend) using chicken thighs. Bagged 2 skin-on thighs per bag with about a half cup of previously made broth (see older posts for method). 147F for 1.5 hours, then chilled and stored in the refrigerator until last night. Dropped the bags in a 140F bath to retherm.... results - the chicken skin was very silky and tender, although there was some unrendered fat in some pockets, most of which may have been able to be removed before cooking. The meat itself was super tender and juicy, and there was no trace of pink which can weird some people out. All in all another hit, especially useful on a busy weekday night...

I used your method last week. Everything came out delicious. Thanks again. I decided that in the future i'll do either all thighs or all breasts...doing both from a whole chicken was just too much of a pain because of different temp requirements.

Do you use bone in thighs or boneless?

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Just an update on my quest for Hainanese Chicken Rice in NYC... made a fast dinner last night (with some prep over the weekend) using chicken thighs. Bagged 2 skin-on thighs per bag with about a half cup of previously made broth (see older posts for method). 147F for 1.5 hours, then chilled and stored in the refrigerator until last night. Dropped the bags in a 140F bath to retherm.... results - the chicken skin was very silky and tender, although there was some unrendered fat in some pockets, most of which may have been able to be removed before cooking. The meat itself was super tender and juicy, and there was no trace of pink which can weird some people out. All in all another hit, especially useful on a busy weekday night...

I used your method last week. Everything came out delicious. Thanks again. I decided that in the future i'll do either all thighs or all breasts...doing both from a whole chicken was just too much of a pain because of different temp requirements.

Do you use bone in thighs or boneless?

Bone-in

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Looks like sous vide is ripe to take off in the Australian market.

Breville, which is an Australian home kitchen electrical supplier similar to Cuisinart appears to be rebadging the sous vide supreme for the Australian domestic user. By putting it out under their own label, they should achieve a reasonable market penetration using their existing distribution channels. Report here.

in the ref above there is an 'integrated' KitchenAid' system. any infor on that one?

Must be the New chef touch cooking system from Kitchen Aid including the KitchenAid KOCV3610 Vacuum Machine, a combi steamer oven and a shock freezer.

See also http://blog.medellit...em-pricing.html and http://www.sousvidec...rom-kitchenaid/. Seems to have been marketed at about USD 17'500 two years ago (that's one hundred SideKICs!).

Cooking SV in a steam oven is never as reliable as in a water bath, but to my knowledge some restaurants do so.

Edited by PedroG (log)

Peter F. Gruber aka Pedro

eG Ethics Signatory

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