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New toy for the kitchen: Immersion Circulator. Newbie Recipes Wanted!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Well, not truly a newbie to sous vide; I've done sous vide cooking at home a dozen times in the past couple years; with a big pot of water, a good thermometer and a carefully watched burner. But now I bought a IC for my pub! (a Haake C1, apparently designed for the medical science industry, but I don't see why it couldn't work for cooking).

 

At home I once did an entire turkey sous vide for thanksgiving (incredibly tasty), and I've done the same for beef tenderloin and it's now my preferred cooking method for corn on the cob, believe it or not. I've gotten my hands dirty with sous vide a handful of times and really love the cooking process and just ordered -- and am still waiting to receive --Thomas Keller's sous vide book. I imagine that'll fill in lots of knowledge gaps I have.

 

But my logistical, practical question for you folks who use these things everyday, is this....

 

None of my cooks have had experience with sous vide. I'm the owner/food geek. I'm more than capable and willing to get the food prepped for them, teach them the theory, show them how to use the vacuum sealer, etc. But I won't be there on a slammin Friday Night when we roll out the special (whatever that may be) to customers. So while I can explain the process from my home use, and help design recipes, I can't help them with the process of actually getting the protein from the water to the customer's plate.

 

So... My specific questions are:

 

1) What are good, low chance of failure recipes to start with for our first sous vide special? While I'm sure there are lots of great recipes in Thomas Keller's book, being familiar with the complexities of some of his recipes from the French Laundry cookbook, I don't want to overcomplicate things too much for my staff the first few times around. My first thought is maybe a simple(ish)pork tenderloin that we finish off on the grill?

2) I bought a 1000W, full pan IC heater... but how tight can you pack your water tub? Is there a rule of thumb for how much circulation you need? Or a water to 'meat bag' ratio?

3) how long can you keep a protein in the bath?

4) what do you do with leftovers? Since it's all cooked, I'm thinking a quick and sacrilegious zap in the microwave might work?

5) What are the warning signs when your IC is starting to go on the fritz? Do they gradually lose holding temp, or circulation, or do they just go dead in the water (pun intended!) when their time is up? And any idea how much lifespan to expect out of an IC? 

6) Are there any crazy uses for my new IC that I would never think of, but should know about? Sous Vide Pizzas?! Just kidding.

 

Oh yeah, might as well plug my business! 

 

Coasters Pub & Biergarten

Beachside Melbourne, Florida

https://www.facebook.com/CoastersPub


Edited by David Swartz Jr - 1/19/14 at 5:31pm
post #2 of 16

Well, eggs are a good choice.  I'd say that a hamburger is a great thing to do and hard to goof up.  Cook it for a few hours @ 130, then sear in the hottest pan you can manage.  Chicken comes out very well sous vide; 140 F is good for white, 148 for dark.  Beef brisket is really killer done this way, too.  I do it at 130 F for 72 hours (yes, three full days!).  That makes it fork tender but still MR.

 

Do you have a good vacuum sealer?  I use a chamber vac at work and at home.  This really helps with sv.

 

Typically you can leave most proteins in the bath for about as long as they took to cook.  A burger can be left for maybe 6 hours without any real loss of quality.  On the other hand if you do a brisket for three days you're not gonna want to leave it for six.  Generally you can hold most things for at least a few hours without issue.  Seafood, however, is the exception.  It does not hold well at all.

 

Best if you're not using everything at once is to leave it sealed and shock it.  Prepare the largest practical ice bath you can; make it like you were gonna calibrate a bimetalic thermo in it.  Chill it as rapidly as you can and it will usually keep for weeks under refridgeration (NOTE:  this assumes you cooked to pastuerize it- if not treat it like it was fresh).

 

Most things will need to be finished with direct heat.  The broiler/grill works, and sometimes a screaming hot pan is best.  Nothing gets crisp when cooked sous vide.  Chicken skin will never get as crisp once you bag & hot tub it.  But I still love chicken done this way.

 

A Chateaubriand is great sous vide!  You can get the perfect edge-to-edge temp then sear the hell out of it.  Pork comes out nice this way as well.

 

Baldwin's book (sous vide for the home cook) is fantastic for the math (cooking times, chill times, pasteurization charts, etc).

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for your input! We have a home quality vacuum sealer... the kind you buy at Wal Mart. It sounds like if we really get the ball rolling with the sous vide I'll need to step up the vacuum sealer.

Is there a rule of thumb to how much you can put into one water bath? Or are you ok as long as there seems to be good water circulation?

post #4 of 16

There's a couple sous vide threads here also worth browsing through.

post #5 of 16

Vacuum is not required for sous vide.

 

dcarch

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcarch View Post
 

Vacuum is not required for sous vide.

 

dcarch


Interesting, I thought the translation of "sous vide" was "under vacuum", silly me.

 

Of course, "low temperature cooking" can be accomplished without a vacuum, though removing as much air as possible from the bags improves contact with the water.

 

Oh wait! Removing the air IS creating a vacuum!

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #7 of 16

"-----Oh wait! Removing the air IS creating a vacuum!----"

 

Not really.

 

If you have a jar, and you remove all the air by filling it with water. There is no air in the jar, but that is not a vacuum.

 

Similarly, removing all the air bubbles and empty space using a vacuum machine to pack your food in a bag will not create a vacuum, because the pressure inside the bag is the same as outside.

 

If you have a jar and you fill it with water partially. Using a vacuum machine to extract air out, you will create a partial vacuum in the jar. The air pressure inside the jar is lower than outside.

 

dcarch

post #8 of 16

I'll restate a trifle more accurately: Removing the air without replacing the air with some other gas or liquid is creating a vacuum.

 

Displacing the air, e.g. filling the bottle with water, does not create a vacuum.

 

As your final sentence states, removing the air without replacement by something else does create a vacuum, not total because of water vapor pressure.

 

To the best of my knowledge, no food service vacuum device creates a perfect vacuum, only a partial vacuum sufficient to collapse the plastic bag/skin around whatever substance is contained within the bag/skin. And it IS true that the pressure inside the bag equalizes with the outside pressure, however that pressure is created by whatever is in the bag due to compressive force.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcarch View Post
 

"-----Oh wait! Removing the air IS creating a vacuum!----"

 

Not really.

 

If you have a jar, and you remove all the air by filling it with water. There is no air in the jar, but that is not a vacuum.

 

Similarly, removing all the air bubbles and empty space using a vacuum machine to pack your food in a bag will not create a vacuum, because the pressure inside the bag is the same as outside.

 

If you have a jar and you fill it with water partially. Using a vacuum machine to extract air out, you will create a partial vacuum in the jar. The air pressure inside the jar is lower than outside.

 

dcarch

 

I think the most literal translation of sous vide is "under void".  So the idea is to vacuum seal.  Yeah, I get that no commercial machine creates a true vacuum...maybe we can argue next about the name "prime rib".;)  Certainly lots of things can be done with just ziplock bags but for long cooks it's much better to have something that creates a durable airtight seal.  Especially if you want to shock the item you're cooking and retherm it later.

 

There is some utility to cooking some foods in jars within the water bath.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #10 of 16

"Sous vide" is a very unfortunate name for this cooking method. Every time the topic comes up, it is always, "But I don'rt have a vacuum machine!"

 

"Water oven" is much better. Cooking with hot water, using precision temperature control. 

 

A convection oven is sous vide using hot air.

 

A deep fryer is sous vide using hot oil.

 

 

dcarch

post #11 of 16

I agree- water bath, water oven or circulator are all better to describe the tools.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #12 of 16

braised beef cheaks and stuff like that indevidually packed work amazing, can run a full service in the water so if you put them in before service you dont have to worry about a temp drop when the rush hits. otherwise chose other hearty items and ice bath what you dont use at the end of service or pre cook, ice bath and freezxe things in small  bags in thinner portions. i have done this quite a lot and it leaves you with next to no waste going from frozen cooked through and just finishing in the pan. 

post #13 of 16

I've got some veal shank in the circulator right now.  I'm thinking about the same as the confit but a little less heat. 170F for 8 hours perhaps?  Thoughts?

post #14 of 16

Well, apparently, not long enough.   I might try lower and longer next time.

post #15 of 16

Just saw this...yeah, probably lower and longer.  Really tough cuts I like to do at low, low tems (around 130) for several days.  Higher temps if you can't go that long due to time constraints.  But some things are best if you don't rush them.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #16 of 16

just went with thomas kellers recipe for duck confit. amazing.... easy to clean up and pull apart and cooked perfect. 

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