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KaffirLime

Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 4)

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so im doing sous vide pork belly soon. thing is, im gonna have to let it share a bath with some other things, so i need it to be 64 C. i figure this will be totally fine, since ive seen recommended cooking temps range from 60 up to 88 (!) celsius. if i brine it overnight first, for how long should i keep it in? would 30h be fine?

I've done it at that temperature without brining for 24 hours. They were fork tender but the fat, while cooked, still had not turned fully buttery. 30 hours may give an even better product.

Let us know how it goes.

I don't think that increasing the time will be much help where fat rendering is concerned -- when I do briskets for 48 hours at 64C there isn't much difference where the fat is concerned from how it is after 24 hrs (however the meat itself is more tender).

Exactly. While longer times at 55c or above will melt the collagen to varying degrees, dealing with the fat is more about temperature. It's the Palmitic and Stearic acids that make all the difference here. Palmitic (about 26-32% of total fat content with pork) melts at 63-64c, while Stearic (12-16% of total) melts around 69-70c.

So varying between 62 and 70+ will make a huge difference on the amount of belly pork fat wobble versus firmness, and the amount of fat that renders and bastes the lean meat (but shrinks the overrall size of portion).

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While it is absolutely true that pure palmitic acid melts at 145F/62.8C and pure stearic acid melts at 157F/69.6C, the saturated fat in meat is not pure and melts at significantly higher temperatures. I do not know exactly how much higher the melting point is though. If I get a chance, I'll try and find it in the academic literature.

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So varying between 62 and 70+ will make a huge difference on the amount of belly pork fat wobble versus firmness, and the amount of fat that renders and bastes the lean meat (but shrinks the overrall size of portion).

My experience so far leads me to think that if the temperature is high enough to render away the solid fat of untrimmed fatty cuts (like brisket and short ribs) that you also lose the special (sometimes sublime) textural qualities that makes sous vide technique so attractive for cooking meat at low temperatures.

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Has anyone experienced with SV desserts?

I tried "confiting" fruits and rhubarbs (like TK's UP's frontcover) but can't think of a dessert the main component is sous vided....

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While it is absolutely true that pure palmitic acid melts at 145F/62.8C and pure stearic acid melts at 157F/69.6C, the saturated fat in meat is not pure and melts at significantly higher temperatures.  I do not know exactly how much higher the melting point is though.  If I get a chance, I'll try and find it in the academic literature.

Makes sense - given that cooking at 70c doesn't render all the fat by any stretch, and that breed, diet, variations in water content, and position of cut all make a difference. Love to see some more practical figures.

My experience so far leads me to think that if the temperature is high enough to render away the solid fat of untrimmed fatty cuts (like brisket and short ribs) that you also lose the special (sometimes sublime) textural qualities that makes sous vide  technique so attractive for cooking meat at low temperatures.

I'm with you on short ribs and brisket. And most other beef cuts, come to think of it (unless I'm cooking a stew or pie filling). Maybe because so much of the flavour with beef is in the flesh. Whereas I find pork a little bland unless there's a good amount of fat going on, so tend to go for higher temps - with something like belly going squarely between low-n-slow and confit duck-type levels - to get just a little rendering.

There is always the option of removing the fat on a cut, partially rendering it, then putting it all back in the bag with the rest of the meat to cook at a lower temp and so get the best of both worlds. But then there's also sometimes something to be said for making a rolled joint and doing a good old-fashioned roast...

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Has anyone had success with sous vide monkfish? Can you cook it with the nasty membrane without curling? What temperature would be best and how long?

Thanks.

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Has anyone experienced with SV desserts?

I tried "confiting" fruits and rhubarbs (like TK's UP's frontcover) but can't think of a dessert the main component is sous vided....

I've done rhubard sous vide. The main reasons for doing it s-v was that I wanted to infuse it with various spices and to keep the pieces nice and presentable while still very soft.

See link below for picture:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26839885@N08/2509015151/

The absolutely best part was the syrup collecting in the bag. I reduced it and served it with the dessert.

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Interesting... did you add any liquid to the bag with the rhubarb, star anise, vanilla and cinnamon? Also, was the rhubarb stringy at all?

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My questions are does anybody:

- Have any recipes themselves?

- Know of other sources (books, magazines, web sites)?

Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide. Its not been released yet but it is by Keller and will probably be pretty good. Amazon has it for less than 50. It will be available Oct 15.

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Interesting... did you add any liquid to the bag with the rhubarb, star anise, vanilla and cinnamon?  Also, was the rhubarb stringy at all?

No liquid, but I did add a fair amount of sugar which I forgot to mention above.

The texture of the rhubarb was very soft, not at all stringy. You could eat it with a spoon.

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Has anyone had success with sous vide monkfish?  Can you cook it with the nasty membrane without curling?  What temperature would be best and how long? 

Thanks.

Roca and Bruges have a Monkfish recipe in their book:

Cooking temp - 60C/140F

Cooking time - 12 minutes

Core temp - 48C/118.4F

For all practical purposes I would suggest 48C/118.4F for 30-35 minutes.

Monkfish is hard to overcook, so 48C-50C is a good range. Personally, I always remove the membrane - there is no reason to keep it.

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Two questions:

Has anyone done garlic confit sous-vide. If so what temp did you use? I tried 160F per a recipe I saw but the garlic didn't soften or sweeten the way I would have liked. I was thinking about trying 180F next.

Also, there have been recommendations that for duck breast sous-vide that one remove the skin prior to cooking and cook it separately to have crisp skin. One recommendation was to put it between two silpats in a 350F oven. Since it will be between silpats it won't be easy to observe. Any ideas on how long it would take to cook the duck skin to crispness?

Thanks,

E

p.s. Tonight, I did chicken breasts at 139F and put a tablespoon of butter in the bag with a fistful of chinese fermented black beans. It turned out great. If you like chinese fermented black beans this is a very easy way to go.

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I haven't done garlic yet, but I'd assume 180 would be pretty good since other veggies do well at 180... I'll be curious to hear your results!

With the duck skin, I'd go with the nose... the nose knows! You can smell when the fat is rendering and skin begins to crisp... plus, you can always check it every once in a while by lifting up the silpat for a second... I like to do it between two sheet pans - never tried the silpats - I always assumed that the silpats would insulate the skin too much and not let all the heat in...

The other night, I did chicken breasts at 140F with a tablespoon of butter, some fresh thyme sprigs, and some rehydrated porcini mushrooms... The chicken wound up getting a really nice earthy flavor and was super tender and juicy... plus, the mushrooms turned out great too.... made a sauce using the rehydrating liquid as a base, reduced adding a bit of dijon and creme fraiche... then added the bag liquid when the chicken finished... The rest of dinner actually took a lot longer so I left the bags in the 140F waterbath for like 2.5 hours with no adverse effects... I love this method!!!

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i know all i do is ask questions, but i'm still watiing for my foodsaver (i got my circulator today tho! yay!) and hey, sometimes i think i'm more interested in theorizing about food than actually cooking it:

what is ur thoughts on, instead of searing the meat before sous viding, either a) cut of a piece of the meat, chop it up, sear it, deglace pan and making sort of a "maillard reaction broth" which u can include in the bag, or b) do it like in option A but instead of doing a broth, just chucking some browned pieces of meat in the bag?

any reason why this would not work? i want to sous vide a diced brisket (it's a play on another dish) and i definitely don't want to sear it twice, maybe not even once...

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Could anyone here give some tips on how not to run out of water (by evaporation) during very long cooking times, like 48 hours? I usually set an alarm for myself to wake up around 3 hours after I do my last "refill" or addition of water, just to make sure my pot doesn't run out of water which would shut-off my thermal immersion circulator.

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Stretch a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the pot. There will be a little open area over where the circulator goes in, but this is not a big deal. You can top-up the water by pouring into that same little open area.

Questions: How large is your water bath? And what temperatures are you using?

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Are you experiencing a lot of evaporation at that level? I cover mine with aluminum foil, really anything should be fine. I did 55C for 36 hours for short ribs and with the aluminum foil did not have to refill it once.

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Yea. You shouldn't experience significant evaporation at that temperature and that volume of water. If you cover the top of the pot with foil or plastic wrap, you shouldn't lose more than 1 liter in 12 hours . This rate of evaporation should not be a problem, and you should be able to sleep through the night with no worries.

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In a lab where we often use waterbatks at higher temps (and can be used when doing vegis sv), we use styrofoam packaging peanuts in the bath to keep down surface evaporation and better control temp if room temp changes a lot

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Yeah, ping-pong balls are another similar solution that I used for a while. I've settled though on just covering my bath with a largish plastic cutting board. Seems to work well enough.

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I have a question for those who do the vacuum packing using a chamber vacuum... if sealing something with liquid in the bag (like a marinade or de-alcoholed wine, etc.) do you find that the liquid boils at the time when the vacuum is applied? If so, is it a problem during sealing? Thanks...

edit - also, what is the standard vacuum that is applied prior to sealing - without trying to compress watermelon or something...


Edited by KennethT (log)

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Ok so I don't have a chamber machine but I think I still have the answers :laugh:

(edited out my very wrong answer, Douglas replied below with a much better answer)

The standard vacuum is basically as strong as your machine will go , you basically compress veggies at the same pressure you just seal whatever, you want to get as much air out for two reasons a) prevent/minimize gas expansion b) reduce oxidation for longer cook times. On modern machines this is close to a full vacuum, 20 millibars, about 29.33" of Mercury or .59" depending on the way you count em.

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I have a question for those who do the vacuum packing using a chamber vacuum... if sealing something with liquid in the bag (like a marinade or de-alcoholed wine, etc.) do you find that the liquid boils at the time when the vacuum is applied?  If so, is it a problem during sealing?  Thanks...

edit - also, what is the standard vacuum that is applied prior to sealing - without trying to compress watermelon or something...

I actually do have a chamber vacuum sealer, and I can assure that the liquid almost always boils --- even olive oil.

A couple tablespoons of liquid in the bag isn't a problem --- even at a hard boil, the liquid does not expand enough to reach the seal bar. Vacuum packaging high water content foods (for freezing) is more problematic; when the liquid boils, its effective volume increases rapidly and will pour out the top if you are not careful.

Typically, I set my chamber vacuum to pull as strong of a vacuum as it can. Most chamber vacuum sealers use rotary vane vacuum pumps which can pull a medium vacuum* of 1 to 0.001 torr/mmHg (100 Pa to 100 mPa). If the food is moist, some of the liquid will change phase and displace the air in the bag with vapor. How much vapor depends on the temperature of the food; for water, the saturated vapor pressure is about 24 torr at 25C and 6.5 torr at 5C --- that means water at 25C boils around 24 torr and water at 5C boils around 6.5 torr. Assuming all the liquid doesn't boil away (a very safe assumption), then the strength of the vacuum pulled depends on the temperature of the food and how fast the gas in the chamber is removed --- that is, a steady-state is often reached where the amount of gas removed by the pump equals the amount of vapor generated by the liquid. So a particular chamber vacuum sealer can pull a much stronger vacuum on meat and marinade at 5C (with a vapor pressure of about 6.5 torr) than on hot soup at 80C (with vapor pressure of about 355 torr).

Vacuum sealing food with a high liquid content is tricky. If you want to vacuum seal a lot of liquid, it is often convenient to freeze it in metered portions and then vacuum seal the individual portions. If you insist on keeping things liquid, cool the liquid as much as is feasible to increase the strength of the vacuum you can pull. Then place the liquid filled bag on a sloped board inside the chamber vacuum sealer so the liquid is as far away from the seal bar as possible. Then either fill the bag with just enough liquid so it does not exceed the volume of the bag when it rapidly boils or watch the vacuum sealing very closely with a finger on the stop/seal button and try to catch it before it boils out of the bag and makes a mess.

* A medium vacuum is defined to be 25--0.001 torr.

Edit: Edited for clarity.


Edited by DouglasBaldwin (log)

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Does anyone have a ideas on cooking a turkey breast sous-vide? I tried Thomas Keller's recipe from NY Magazine a few years ago for Thanksgiving, but wondered if there is any better info on cooking times/temps. Had a great and different texture when I did it last time.

Nothing in his new Under Pressure book on turkey.

His last recipe is here:

http://nymag.com/restaurants/articles/reci...uitsousvide.htm

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