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KaffirLime

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

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That for me would be the holy grail as I love induction hobs but I don't think it will be possible to control most domestic models. The reason for this is that the induction hobs have electronic start and power level controls therefore you cannot switch them on using a PID/Auber/SousVide Magic controller.

I have looked everywhere for an induction hob with a mechanical switch but I don't think that they are available.

Thanks, Joe; I kind of suspected as much.

While I have not used an induction system, I have used a simple hotplate with the PID controller and a 16qt stockpot / bubblier. It held uniform temperatures from 135F to 175F with no trouble.

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I have been cooking sous vide several times a week for the past couple of years. Initially, I was hesitant to purchase a new immersion circulator because I wasn't sure if I would like this method of cooking. Instead of making a large initial investment, I procured and repaired a couple of older immersion circulators that had been left for dead.

These older, heavily abused units served me well, but since I have grown quite fond of cooking sous vide, I am now willing to spend a bit of money so that I can spend more time cooking and less time tinkering with broken lab equipment. I am considering purchasing a new immersion circulator and I am having trouble differentiating between my options.

Are there significant differences between the units offered by various manufacturers, e.g. PolyScience, Techne, and Julabo? Are there significant differences between the units marketed for culinary use and those that aren't? I have been told that the PolyScience units are quite popular for culinary use, but the people from whom I've heard this haven't used any other units. Are there any brands that are considered more reliable or convenient than others? The spec sheets all seem to look pretty similar. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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You'll have to include me in those having used only the PolyScience unit. I am happy with the device, and can recommend it for its excellent build quality and general ease of use. It also happens to be somewhat cheaper than Julabo's similar product, and (for what it's worth) made in America. Too, Thomas Keller, who has many more resources than I and would likely use only the best, has several photos of the PolyScience devices being used throughout his kitchens in his newest book, "Sous Vide."

I might wish for some design enhancements in future versions. The control unit, mounted on top of the heater element, could be shifted back an inch or two, which would create the feel of more working room in small pots. Switching from Fahrenheit to Celsius (and back) is not intuitive, and requires that the unit be shut off and restarted, rather than just pressing a button. Changing temperatures using the rotary knob takes a long time: the increments are in tenths of a degree, and could be more easily specified with a ten-digit keypad, which could also be used to add additional presets beyond the three now supplied. PolyScience might also do well to market an inexpensive plastic container with a fitted lid to minimize energy losses.

These suggestions are not to complain about the unit, however. I am generally quite happy with it.

Also, if you buy this unit, you'll probably want to buy the protective cage. It allows the unit to be used in shallower pots, and probably should be included as standard equipment.

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Well, I have the Julabo and am very happy with it. It is very easy to use and very reliable. The display is in celsius. I like that and feel that being able to switch between the two systems could well lead to confusion.

At the time I bought my circulator my model was a little less expensive than the Polyscience.

Remember that circulators are designed for lab use and have to be accurate. For sous-vide cooking we need nothing more than accuracy. I would go for the least expensive brand with a good track record

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Polyscience makes great water baths. They were the first water bath company to take the sous vide market seriously - most of the other vendors have focused exclusively on the laboratory market.

However, that said, any of the major brands of laboratory water bath are built to very high standards. Pharaceutical companies and other lab users are very demanding. That is in part why the price of water baths are so high - they have very demanding, price insensitive, small volume buyers.

Over time cooking oriented water baths will emerge as a distinct product line from the laboratory models. The price points for the lab versions are too high to sell very many to for consumer kitchens. Meanwhile the wattage is (in general) too low for commercial kitchens. So over time we will see water baths designed for kitchen - both consumer and professional.

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I went looking for a coolerbox and came across this

http://www.waeco.com/en/1296.php

website says this cooler/hot box has +/- 1C accuracy

It has 7 temperature settings between 50-65C so guess in 2C increments.

The 14L and 21L unit costs less then £150.

They also have a temperature data logger available for it.

Could be a suitable alternative to a lab water bath?


Edited by origamicrane (log)

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It appears to be designed to be filled with mostly air, unless I am missing something. You would be missing out on the heat transfer benefits that the water in a water bath provides, giving what would be in effect just an oven with good temperature control.

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yep there's no stirring action either.

But I am thinking you could bag your food, bring it up to temperature in a stockpot then transfer the bag into the hotbox to finish off.

Maybe even put a gastronorm pan with lid inside filled with water?

I might buy this and see if it can be used as a cheapo SV cooker.

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I went looking for a coolerbox and came across this

http://www.waeco.com/en/1296.php

website says this cooler/hot box has +/- 1C accuracy

It has 7 temperature settings between 50-65C so guess in 2C increments.

The 14L and 21L unit costs less then £150.

They also  have a temperature data logger available for it.

Could be a suitable alternative to a lab water bath?

Just a reminder that a tabletop roaster ($40 to $50 new but often found for $10 to $15 used) or hotplate plus slockpot (about $20) or ricecooker coupled with a $100 plug-n-play PID controller (from Auber Instruments or Sous Vide Magic) and a $10 aquarium air pump will do a great job for 99% of one's sous-vide needs. In many cases, the aquarium pump isn't needed either.

While a nice immersion circulator is more convenient, these other options work great if money is an issue. They really do work well athough they may seem less elegant.

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yep there's no stirring action either.

But I am thinking you could bag your food, bring it up to temperature in a stockpot then transfer the bag into the hotbox to finish off.

Maybe even put a gastronorm pan with lid inside filled with water?

I might buy this and see if it can be used as a cheapo SV cooker.

So you are thinking of using this for situations where you bring something to temperature (which you would do in a conventional stovetop water bath) and hold it there for a long time (which you would do in the hot box)? Seems like taking the long way around to get there... for the around the same money you could get a cheap hotplate and a PID controller and achieve the same thing. Still not exactly a recirculating water bath, which may be an issue for long-term cooking. I'd stick with keeping my eyes on eBay - I got a lab-style circulating heater for $20 US plus another $50 in parts.

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Hi!

I haven't seen anyone answer this one yet:

I want to do lamb shoulder sous-vide. Should I do the shoulder whole, or have my butcher cut into into 1-1/2" cubes? In a normal braise, I know leaving the meat whole reduces liquid loss, but that doesn't seem to be an issue in sous-vide since I'll be vacuum sealing the meat with a braising liquid. In fact, if I jaccard the lamb cubes, isn't there a possibility that it will end up more juicy than if I left the shoulder whole?

Given that lamb cut into cubes will come to temperature faster, allowing more collagen breakdown and less time in the danger zone, is there any reason not to cube the meat?

How would brining change these considerations?

Thanks in advance!

Brad

St. Louis, MO

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I've done lamb shoulder CSV, cut into cubes, confited in olive oil. One problem is that the meat comes out looking incredibly unappetizing. It tasted great, but I think you'll want to either brown the surface of the cubes afterwards (in which case you might want larger chunks of meat), or you'll want to pull apart the meat altogether, and mix it with other stuff to make it more visually appealing. It all depends on what you're looking for.

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yep there's no stirring action either.

But I am thinking you could bag your food, bring it up to temperature in a stockpot then transfer the bag into the hotbox to finish off.

Maybe even put a gastronorm pan with lid inside filled with water?

I might buy this and see if it can be used as a cheapo SV cooker.

So you are thinking of using this for situations where you bring something to temperature (which you would do in a conventional stovetop water bath) and hold it there for a long time (which you would do in the hot box)? Seems like taking the long way around to get there... for the around the same money you could get a cheap hotplate and a PID controller and achieve the same thing. Still not exactly a recirculating water bath, which may be an issue for long-term cooking. I'd stick with keeping my eyes on eBay - I got a lab-style circulating heater for $20 US plus another $50 in parts.

yep there are cheaper setups available but this is quite elegant and there is one thing that really interests me about this piece of kit, it can run off a 12v car socket.

I am thinking this could be good as a mobile SV catering kit, pair this with a blowtorch and I'm thinking SV food on the move :smile:

imagine a picnic where you cut open a perfectly juicy steak and then blowtorch it before carving it, whilst you are out in the middle of the wilderness :smile:

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hey all,

has anyone cooked turkey breast sou-vide before? How long does it take and at what temperature do you all usually get it to?

I'm curious I'd like to try that one day. I hate dry turkey breast.

Thanks in advance!

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Some will tell you that this is too hot, but I do turkey tenderloins at 153F for 3 hrs with just salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Tonight I just finished a pair of turkey tenderloins joined together using transglutaminase to make a piece that is intended to allow slices of breast that are comparable in size with a real bird. Since they were about 3" in diameter I let them go 5 hrs@153F.

Doc

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The required time depends on the thickness of the meat. With turkey breast you only need to heat it long enough to bring it up to temperature for long enough to be food safe -- and that time is determined by the water temp and the thickness of the neat. See Nathan's great tables to determine the time to get the meat to temp and then add on enough time for it to be food safe (you can download the FDA tables -- I think there is a link somewhere in the forum).

I like 140F for turkey breast. I cook it with some duck fat in the bag, a little salt and pepper and a thin slice of orange with the peel/pith removed. There is no advantage to cooking longer than needed to make it safe since it is a tender cut.

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hi

has anyone made a SV chicken or turkey ballotine ?

I made one last week and it was good but lacked the punch of a roasted one.

After the water bath would it be worth roasting it off a bit?

Also anyone know how i can keep the ballotine's round shape in the bag?

As once i put the roll into the foodsaver bag and vacseal it, the roll gets that squished geometric look and kind of looks unnatural when served.

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hi

no didn't use any binding chemicals.

Is it ok to take the cling film up to 60C?

Also did it take long to pan crisp the skin afterwards?

did you find any problems crisping the chicken skin after the waterbath?

The one i made I butterflied the breast and made a roll.

The stuffing was minced chicken thigh with porcini and tarragon.

I made the skin seperately as roasted skin crackers.

This sounds a little unsafe in my mind but could you SV the ballotine and after it is cooked wrap it in the uncooked chicken skin and then roast it off?

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I followed a recipe in Thomas Keller "Under Pressure", I can't say I can prove cling film is save at 60C except I've always done that and seen many other chefs do it...

My chicken was "dried" in the fridge for 36 hours so it was very dry and sticky, so it took less than 30 seconds per "side" of the roll.

The recipe asked for transglutinmase to bind everything together, I didn't have it so I tied the roll together with kitchen strings after sous vide to the skin kept shape during the frying.

Keller moussed the breast and used the thigh, but cut away the tendons of the leg muscles before spreading the mousse. The high cooking temp of leg (64C vs 60C), I believe, is better in that the mousse to set better and giving you more tolerance to brown the skin without overcooking the meat.

I can see why you want to SV the ballotine first, but SV the whole roll gives better flavour and texture.

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has anyone cooked turkey breast sou-vide before?  How long does it take and at what temperature do you all usually get it to?

I do this all the time, both for cook-and-serve at hot temperatures, and also cook-and-chill to use as lunchmeat in sandwiches. Either way, I have found 60C/140F to be the best temperature.

has anyone made a SV chicken or turkey ballotine?

Also anyone know how i can keep the ballotine's round shape in the bag?

As once i put the roll into the foodsaver bag and vacseal it, the roll gets that squished geometric look and kind of looks unnatural when served.

I have done this for Thanksgiving a number of times. I don't think it makes sense to use a whole turkey as you would if you were roasting it, because the thickness makes it impractical. Also, I believe that turkey dark and light meat are best when cooked with different methods and at different temperatures. That said, I do know of people who have bound a cylinder of turkey meat (both dark and light) with transglutaminase and cooked it sous vide.

My method is to remove and butterfly the breasts, which are stuffed with a mousse of turkey breast, truffles, foie gras and herbs. This is rolled into a cylinder, covered with plastic wrap which is twisted to conform the roll to a "gigantic sausage" shape, vacuum-bagged and cooked to temperature in a 60.5C water bath (I poke holes in the plastic wrap so that any residual air is removed when the bag is vacuumed).

I also braise the dark meat in red wine, combine with shredded/wilted Savoy cabbage, bound the mixture lightly with turkey mousse, wrapped in reserved turkey skin into a cylinder shape, "sausage wrapped" in plastic film, vacuum-bagged and cooked to temperature in the 60.5C water bath (since the meat was already cooked, this was to simply to warm the meat and set the binder).

And finally, I made a "log" of cornbread dressing wrapped in overlapping strips of double-smoked bacon. This was also bagged and warmed in the 60.5C water bath.

For service, the turkey skin and bacon are crisped under the broiler or with a blowtorch.

Looks like this:

gallery_8505_416_77637.jpg

gallery_8505_416_72731.jpg

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yep your balltoine looks exactly like the one I make it has the creases from the bag during vaccuming

I wonder if there is a to get rid of the creases?

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Trimming, if you really care that much. As you can see, it's not really apparent on the plate.

My guess is that the way to completely eliminate creasing would be to make a series of smaller "sausages" rather than one big one, and to wrap the "sausage" in multiple layers of plastic wrap before bagging.

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Another recipe adapted from CUlinay Jottings for Madras By "Wyvern" (Col. Kenny Herbert) 1891.

LAMB QUOORMA

Kenny Herbert ("Wyvern") said:

The QUOORMA, if well made, is undoubtedly an excellent curry. It used, I believe, to be one of the best at the Madras Club, in the days when curries commanded closer attention than they do now....

This, it will be perceived is a curry of rich yet mild description. The total absence of chilli constitutes, in the opinion of many, its chief attraction. "

(JL note: You can add some chopped fresh chilli if you want it hotter, but I would not)

For 4 good portions

Mix:

500g cubed boneless lamb

15g peeled ginger whizzed with 10g salt

Leave to marinate from 2 to 24 hours covered in fridge.

Spice mix (can be made in bulk):

2.5g coriander

2.5g ground Black Pepper

1g ground cloves

2.5g turmeric

2.5g cardamom

Sauce

Soften 2 onions peeled and cut into rings in 50g butter

Add 2 cloves crushed garlic

Add 11g spice mix, fry for 3 mins

Add 125ml light stock or water, simmer for 5 mins

Stir in 200g coconut cream. Let cool.

(For added richness can add 100g crème fraiche or yogurt)

For added heat add 2 sliced green chillis

This sauce can be made in advance, frozen or bagged and sterilised

Assembly and cooking

Bag sauce and lamb. Sous vide for 12hours or more at 58C

Serve with rice and fresh chutneys, dahl, chapatti etc

Tomato chutney:

2 or 3 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped with quarter of their bulk of onion

Season with a bit of salt, two green chillis chopped small, a bit of chopped celery a dust of black pepper and moisten with a teaspoon of vinegar

Cucumber chutney

Cu the cucumber into thin strips and inch long, say two or three heaped tablespoons. Mix with a teaspoonful of chopped spring onion, one of chilli, and one of parsley.

Moisten with a dessert-spoon of vinegar in which a pinch of sugar has been dissolved, a dessertspoon of oil, salt and pepper at discretion

Mint leaves or Mango or Apple Chutney

As cucumber. Apple and Mint is particularly good.

Jackal,

I want to try this recipe. Did you use a lean cut, like the loin, or a tough cut, like the shank? Did the meat stay pink? I want to make sure that the food not only tastes great, but looks great too. I'm really tempted to try this with shoulder for 48 hours at 51c / 131f. It seems like a lamb shoulder, like a beef brisket, would have the right combination of relatively lean, but not too tender for long cooking at a low temperature. A shank, on the other hand, seems like it might benefit from a higher temperature because it has more collagen. I'm I correct in this thinking?

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I used lamb shoulder that I cubed into about 1 inch pieces.

I would not cook it for 48 hours. 12 hours is easily enough, 48 hours you will just have mush.

Some friends tried it in their take away food range, and it proved popular.

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