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MikeTMD

Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 6)

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Shaun,

That is a good question. I have grains on my to-do list, but haven't gotten around to testing them yet. (I tested dried beans last week, and they worked very well.) Since cooking grains is mainly about the gelatinization of the starches granules in the cells, I would first try 175F (80C) (since most starches gelatinize between 140--175F/60--80C). If that temperature is not high enough, I would then try 185F (85C). If neither of those temperatures is high enough, I would try 195F (90C) --- which is what I ended up cooking my dried beans at. As for the cooking time, I would try 1.5 hours at 195F (90C), 2.1 hours at 185F (85C), and 3 hours at 175F (80C) based on the old (very rough) approximation that increasing/decreasing the temperature by 10C halves/doubles the reaction time in biological systems. I would also start with the same liquid-oat ratio you use traditionally, cook it sous vide, and then measure how much liquid you can strain off (and subtract a little less than that amount of liquid on your next experiment). Anyway, that is what I plan to do when I get around to testing the best way to cook grains sous vide.

I look forward to hearing about your results.

Very Best Wishes,

Douglas

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Thanks for the suggestions, Douglas. I hadn't thought to calibrate the sous vide cooker with an oral thermometer, but I did verify it with a Thermapen kitchen thermometer. The chicken thighs were packed in a single layer, but I did include a chilled glob of olive oil and perhaps that turned the package into a confit. Each package also included a lemon slice (in the first instance) and multiple garlic cloves (the second time), which may have insulated the chicken to some extent.

Following your suggestions, the next time I'll just salt & pepper the chicken, vacuum bag it, sous vide the package and use the juices to develop a sauce after the cooking.

Thanks again for all the work you've done developing, organizing and codifying information about sous vide.

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Back on March 11 KennethT asked whether anyone has done just a marrow bone and if so, what temp/time? But there were no responses then. Anyone have any experiences with sous vide marrow bone?

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Back on March 11 KennethT asked whether anyone has done just a marrow bone and if so, what temp/time? But there were no responses then. Anyone have any experiences with sous vide marrow bone?

I think back at the time, I wound up doing it at 176F for about an hour... worked ok - the marrow came out in one piece and was nice and soft - but I think too much of the fat may have rendered out... I'd be curious to try it again a little differently...

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I'm surprised that the rosemary came through but not the garlic. My small amount of experience with aromatic herbs in vacuum is that they don't work. In my case it was using fresh dill over salmon in a gravlax cure under vacuum. The cure worked fine, but the dill didn't come through. Note however, that Douglas warns against using garlic in sous vide. Though that might only apply to raw garlic.

It isn't so surprising -- not all aromatic herbs are equally aromatic. Dill is much less aromatic than rosemary and juniper berries (at least fresh ones) and even tarragon. I, too, have found that dill is pretty subtle. With rosemary, i also find that toasting it before using it for sous-vide tames it a little bit.

As others have mentioned roasted garlic is not all that 'garlicky' (for want of a better word).

For a couple of years I avoided using raw garlic sous-vide because so many people reported bad results and I relied on garlic powder. A few months ago, I decided to explore using raw garlic and found that if you use the right amount and balance it with some acid and oil in the bag that you can get a nice garlic flavor that is neither too intense or too raw.

I am using this with chicken when I cook it in the 140F to 155F range (lately the temperature is determined by how quickly I want the chicken to be ready). I haven't tried this at lower temperatures -- I suspect that the garlic may mellow a little bit more at these temps than at lower temps.

The amounts will vary on the particular garlic that you have and your taste. Here is what I do. I use a garlic press and press a medium-sized clove into a tablespoon or two of olive oil. I add a little salt and the juice of 1/4 to 1/2 of a meyer lemon (for this use I am preferring meyer lemons to standard lemons) and about 1/4 to 1/2 cap of liquid smoke. I use this amount for two boneless/skinless breasts or 4 thighs.

At 155F, I cook them for an hour or so. At lower temps, I cook longer to make sure they are pasteurized.

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Back on March 11 KennethT asked whether anyone has done just a marrow bone and if so, what temp/time? But there were no responses then. Anyone have any experiences with sous vide marrow bone?

I did ossobuco with marrow bone at 58.5°C for 12 hours, the meat was pink, succulent and fork-tender, but not falling apart like after traditional braising, and the marrow was soft. For the recipe see http://sousvide.wiki...m/wiki/Ossobuco

I've tried slices of marrow bones @ 135F, overnight packed with sous-vide garlic and BBQ sauce. Great spread on toasted garlic bread (LaBrea). I didn't take notes, careful with the sauce, or it's intrusive.

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Re: marrow bones, thanks for the suggestions. I'm planning a comparo test:

1. fry (with marrow removed from the bone, dusted with flour);

2. roast (450F/230C for 15 mins - because the web is full of a recipe from Fergus Henderson for roast veal marrowbones with parsley salad);

3. SV warm and quick (176F/80C for 1 hour, as KennethT did);

4. SV cool and slow (135F/57C overnight, as yosemit3 did).

In each case, I'll lightly season each the same way with s&p. I hope I can report back after the holidays. Perhaps others can try a similar test to compare results.

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Thanks for your reply Douglas

I will give that I try

I forgot however to ask one further question: if I am using milk (or 1/2 milk, 1/2 water) as my liquid, what should I consider to be the danger zone in terms of cooking temperature. I would guess that 80C or above would be safe, but again I would appreciate your thoughts.

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I forgot however to ask one further question: if I am using milk (or 1/2 milk, 1/2 water) as my liquid, what should I consider to be the danger zone in terms of cooking temperature. I would guess that 80C or above would be safe, but again I would appreciate your thoughts.

Shaun,

Using milk is not a problem from the food safety standpoint. Indeed, the `danger zone' for all foods is between 29.3F (-1.5C) [the temperature at which Listeria monocytogenes begins to grow] and 126.1F (52.3C) [the temperature at which Clostridium perfringens stops growing] unless there are additional hurdles which preserve the food between those temperatures. [Note that the danger zone only applied to pathogenic microorganisms, there are spoilage and beneficial microorganisms which can grow at temperatures above and below the danger zone.] Examples of hurdles include canning (which makes the food shelf-stable by reducing the vegetative pathogens and spores to a safe-level and prevents recontamination), decreasing the water activity (e.g., drying meat to make jerky or curing it in salt), decreasing the pH of the food (say by adding acid or through fermentation), etc.* Frequently, several hurdles are combined to allow the food to be stored at temperatures within the danger zone for extended periods of time.

* For extremely detailed scientific information on food preservation techniques, I recommend checking out the "Handbook of Food Preservation" edited by M. Shafiur Rahman from your local library system [which can probably get it through inter-library loan from a research university].

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I just had my first (of many I hope) sous vide Xmas dinner.

I sourced a rare breed (Wessex Saddleback) suckling pig with a dressed weight of 10-12 kg.

My set up consisted of a 20 litre (4 1/2 gal) urn, a Sous-Vide Magic temperature controller, and a 28cm Sunbeam Food Saver.

My technique was borrowed from Joan Roca, although I allowed a longer cooking time given his use of a smaller piglet.

I broke down the pig and individually bagged the pieces each with a few tablespoons of olive oil and peppercorns. (Olive oil can be solidified in the freezer which helps avoid having to seal liquid using a Food Save). I cooked in three batches, each batch at 70C/158F for 14 hours. Each batch was rapidly cooled in an ice bath and refrigerated in the meat chiller until prior to service.

About two hours prior to service I reheated the bags using a domestic oven at 80-85C. After taking the meat out of the bags I removed the bones (after reheating it was possible to remove the bones by just pulling them out). I then attempted to crisp the skin up using non-stick pans on the stove top, using a thermometer to ensure the core temperature was raised enough.

The texture of the meat was very good: moist and tender. It was not fork-tender - as I have often seen meat described on this post - but that would not have been to my taste. My efforts to crisp the skin were only partially successful due perhaps to lack of patience and care. But the method was fundamentally sound and I would recommend it.

I note that Thomas Keller has a recipe which is basically an assiette that uses a suckling pig of similar dimensions to the one I tackled. It is a highly technical method that involves differential treatment of different parts of the pig. I can see how this would produce better results, even if the results of the simpler technique I used were more than satisfactory.

I served the pig with mille-feuille potatoes, shallot confit, sous-vide apple wedges, and a coleslaw made with wombok, fennel, watercress, chervil, and hazelnuts dressed with an apple mustard vinaigrette (Thomas Keller being the inspiration behind some of these accompaniments.) I opted against Joan Roca's accompaniment of orange gastrique which, although delicious-sounding, seemed incompatible with potatoes.

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Shaun

Last summer I cooked a suckling pig sous vide using Joan Roca's method. I chilled and refrigerated the pieces still in their vacuum bags. Before serving I crisped the skin over a sear burner. I kept one of two pieces back (I think I even froze one piece) and crisped those in a cast iron pan. All emerged beautifully crisp and I would do them the same way again. A few weeks later my husband and I were at Can Roca and suckling pig was on the menu. It could have been the same pig that I took off my grill! Joan Roca's recipes are supremely reliable.

Ruth

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I got the 'Sous Vide Supreme water oven' for Christmas. There is no virtually assembly, it is intuitive to use right out of the box. Slick looking, the footprint is relatively small, it is easy to lift for water fill/empty, quick to ramp up to selected temperature and seems quite accurate (verified with IR thermometer). Compared a ribeye v tri tip (salt/pepper/garlic/butter)132F for about 6 hrs, both perfectly medium rare, the tri tip incredibly tender and succulent. Yesterday did eggs 148F for 1 hr and they were exactly as documented here: http://amath.colorado.edu/~baldwind/sous-vide.html

Still a rookie having used it only twice but thus far I give it two thumbs up.

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I can see both pros and cons in using the Sous Vide Supreme instead of a temperature controller / cooker combination.

Cons:

1. The combination is potentially cheaper: about $150 for the controller + between $50 and $200 for the cooker depending on size (cf $450 for the Supreme)

2. The combination gives you a potentially bigger water bath. I use a 20 litre urn that cost A$100 on Ebay and could safely cook about 3kg meat - in the 10 litre bath of the Supreme I would guess you are limited to 1 - 2 kg before your heat transfer from water to meat becomes too slow. (Doug Baldwin can probably provide some figures on all this).

Pros:

1. Slick design, all-in-one package

2. Less bench space

3. No need to worry about PID settings (although the Sous Vide Magic has an auto-tune function for this)

What is not clear from the Sous Vide Supreme specs is: (a) power of the heating element, which determines how quickly you can get your water bath to the right temperature, and (b) how well insulated it is, which determines how efficiently and therefore economically it operates. Also the specs do not indicate there is any circulator built into the device, from which I would assume that the precision of temperature control no better than the combination using cooker that heats from the bottom.

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>> Also the specs do not indicate there is any circulator built into the device, from which I would assume that the precision of temperature control no better than the combination using cooker that heats from the bottom. <<

There is no circulator. They have a perforated bottom and based on comments I read on on one of the blogs they have multiple heating zones that they activate to generate some sort of current within the bath.

Judging their marketing, they are after the no carb dieter rather than the "How can we poach this in butter" Egullet food scientist so this is maybe why they leave lots of info off the table.

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What is not clear from the Sous Vide Supreme specs is: (a) power of the heating element, which determines how quickly you can get your water bath to the right temperature.

If anyone is interested, I can do some power draw / time measurements for my Sous Vide Supreme machine once I get home (Jan 4th)

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re: the sous vide oatmeal upthread- I have done this several times (even replied to a rice-cooker/oatmeal thread here on eG about it). I did it as more of a convenience breakfast item rather than an attempt to improve upon conventionally-cooked oatmeal though...

I use Alton Brown's 'overnight oatmeal' recipe, put it all in a bag, and set it in a PID-controlled rice cooker at 182degF overnight (I generally start with room temp/cold ingredients - ice cubes and frozen half and half for the liquids, so it takes a while to come up to temp each night - probably ends up being at 182 for 6 hours???? It's been a while since I've done it).

I'm not exactly sure why I settled on 182 degrees (can't remember or find my scribbled notes).? I was starting to read about starch gelatinization at the time though. From Doug's post (thank you for everything you've done for all of us amateurs, BTW!!!) it looks like I could drop the temp even lower. My version is probably not quite as nice as oatmeal made in a pot over the stove, but much less labor intensive (In the morning, I empty the bag into a mixing bowl and give it a few good stirs, but other than that, it is hot and ready when I wake up)!

- c o r y

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Thanks for that Corymoto. So far I have tried 90C for one hour and 85C overnight. Cooking times of 2, 3 hours are not really practical because I don't want to get up really early and if I do it the night before the oats continue to cook and break down overnight anyway.

Regarding the use of liquids I have found the difficulties of bagging liquids using a domestic vacuum sealer are overstated by many.

I have a foodsaver with a manual "pulse" option that is perfect for things such as porridge.

I hold the bottom of the bag over the end of the bench and use gravity to keep liquid away from the vacuum channel. By using the pulse buttom I can remove the air just to the point the liquid starts to move towards the channel and then seal. No problems and no air bubbles.

This method works fine for liquid marinates and syrups as well.

Theoretically freezing is preferable so that you can get more pressure but I doubt it really makes that much difference.

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...

Regarding the use of liquids I have found the difficulties of bagging liquids using a domestic vacuum sealer are overstated by many.

I have a foodsaver with a manual "pulse" option that is perfect for things such as porridge.

...

Shaun, the liquid difficulty is not with a domestic machine, as such.

The difficulty is with liquids and a basic full-auto machine, with no manual control whatsoever.

With an auto-only machine, freezing of liquids/sauces/etc is required.

But domestic machines with manual control options are just fine. And the more options, the more control, the better.

I'm still delighted with my clearance-priced FoodSaver V2860.

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I love cooking small birds - quail, squab, etc etc... and I find sous vide great for this - but, I've always been disappointed with some, especially squab. My feeling has always been that the squab we get in the US has very little flavor compared to its equivalent in France. I can't tell you how many restaurants I've been in France where the squab has had tons of flavor - then when I get back to the US, it's always relatively flavorless... So the other day, I started doing some research - it seems that the french birds are hung for several days post slaughter as a sort of dry-age, whereas, I gather, the US birds are not... so I first started thinking about dry-aging the squab for a few days in the refrigerator - but I don't know much about that (and it's for a different topic), so I decided to try to enzymatically accelerate it prior to cooking...

I made 2 squab breasts (from the same bird) - both were seasoned equally, then seared on all sides, then put into 2 different bags. One bag was held at 100F for about an hour (the other in the refrigerator), then the temp of the bath was increased to 132F, and the second squab was added, and both cooked for about 1.5 hours (roughly - I didn't time it exactly) to cook medium-rare and pasteurize.

The results were conclusive - upon a blind tasting, the accelerated squab breast was noticably more flavorful and slightly more tender! I will definitely do this again - but next time "age" it for 2-3 hours to see what happens...

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I asked this question in the Confit Myth thread but it was a little off-topic so I thought I would try here:

Both Keller (in Under Pressure) and Paula Wolfert have noted that if you plan to keep sous vide duck confit more than a week or so that it should be repackaged. I'm not quite sure I understand why keeping it in contact with the "duck jelly" is problematic but I'm obviously quite concerned about botulism.

I have some confit that's about 4 months old, was chilled rapidly after sous vide confit, and has been refrigerated ever since (the bag is still tightly vacuumed). Would people here eat this? Or throw it away?

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...

I have some confit that's about 4 months old, was chilled rapidly after sous vide confit, and has been refrigerated ever since (the bag is still tightly vacuumed). Would people here eat this? Or throw it away?

It depends on two things: how cold is your refrigerator and did cooking reduce non-proteolytic C. botulinum to a safe level? To quote my guide:

A few sous vide recipes use temperature-time combinations which can reduce non-proteolytic C. botulinum to a safe level; specifically, a 6D reduction in non-proteolytic C. botulinum requires 520 minutes (8 hours 40 minutes) at 167°F (75°C), 75 minutes at 176°F (80°C), or 25 minutes at 185°F (85°C) (Fernández and Peck, 1999). The food may then be stored at below 39°F (4°C) indefinitely, the minimum temperature at which B. cereus can grow (Andersson et al., 1995).


Edited by DouglasBaldwin (log)

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I'm assuming you didn't use any nitrite in the salt cure?

Obviously, the "when in doubt, throw it out" rule applies, but on a whim, I just looked up the temperature for destroying botulinum toxin. The CDC says:

Despite its extreme potency, botulinum toxin is easily destroyed. Heating to an internal temperature of 85°C [185°F] for at least 5 minutes will decontaminate affected food or drink.

So that might be the way to go, if you feel comfortable with it.

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