Rhubarb is the vegetable of my childhood, my mum was often preparing jam out of fresh rhubarb coming directly from our garden.
I found the post from The British Larder’s blog about rhubarb cooked sous vide interesting. Therefore I have decided to reproduce the recipe and try to obtain a delicious rhubarb tart.
Madalene recipe is easy:
- 140g rhubarb
- 30g sugar
- 30g water
- 1 vanilla pod
Madalena recommends a hard vacuum for this recipe. I was happy to test my MiniVac (a very compact vacuum chamber sealer) at this occasion. I am almost sure you can obtain a similar final result with a good clamp vacuum sealer.
With a storng vacuum, color of fruits and vegetables appear more intense as usual. It is also amazing to observe the sudden transparency of the food stuff.
Contrary to what was recommended by The British Larder (61°C during 20 minutes) I cooked the rhubarb 61°C during 45 minutes with my immersion circulator. I had the strange intuition that rhubarb can’t be cooked at 61°C during 20 minutes.
The result was excellent, not too soft, not too hard. The vanilla syrup was very tasty. The texture of the rhubarb was also surprising. As you will see on the picture bellow the rhubarb cooked sous vide at 61°C is not becoming mushy at all. The rhubarb remains in one piece.
Here is the final result, a rhubarb tart I let probably a little bit too long in the oven. Anyway, it was delicious.
Today I wanted to experiment confit duck legs. The idea came to my mind while reading Casqu8′s blog who cooked some weeks ago a couple of confit duck legs.
I copied Casqu8 recipe consisting in curing the meat with salt, thyme and bay leaf. I vaccum sealed the pouch and stored it in the fridge for 24 hours.
I rinced the legs with clear water and took care taking off the thyme and bay leaves. No need to leave them in the pouch, otherwise the final flavour of these aromats will be too strong!
Then I vaccumed sealed the duck leg with some duck fat (3 tablespoons) I purchased in a supermark (300 gr cost EUR 4).
In my first try I cooked sous vide the duck leg at 80°C during 9 hours with my immersion circulator.
I have not be satisfied with the final result. The confit duck legs were to dry in my opinion. Casque8 recommended me setting my immersion circulator at 75°C instead of 80, raising the cooking time to 20 hours and adding more duck fat (I have added 150 g per leg). The result was much better and I liked that confit duck leg very much.
I also tried 75°C during 24 hours with the same amount of duck fat. I had the feeling the additional 4 hours have not improved the texture of the meat. In my opinion the 20 hours duck legs cooked sous vide were far better.
Don’t forget to sear the legs both sides in a hot pan in order to obtain a crispy appearance, 20 to 30 secondes are enough.
Bruno Goussault’s DVD mentions a recipe of a pear cooked sous vide:
- 1 pear
- 30 g chocolate
- 20 g vanilla sugar (vanilla extract plus sugar)
The recipes mentions puting the pear sous vide and immerse the pouch in a water bath set at a temperature of 8O°C until the pear is “done”.
Their is no mention of the cooking time. I checked several times the pear before it becomes too soft and therefore decided to stop cooking the pear after 30 minutes. I chilled the pear and kept it in the fridge one day before serving it.
The result is a very nicely cooked pear but I can’t say this pear was something special. It was good but nothing amasing. I think the main advantage of this way of cooking pears is the possibility to keep them 15 to 25 days in the fridge (at the condition to keep them in the pouch). This is definitely a very good point for professionnals.
In France, during Christmas time, eating foie gras is very popular. Remember that the sous vide method was developed by Georges Pralus in the 70s in order to cook foie gras in an optimal way.
For the first time I tried to cook myself a duck foie gras sous vide.
First issue is to choose a good raw foie gras of quality…The South Ouest of France is the region where the foie gras is originally produced. If you choose one of those, there is a small risk to make mistakes.
Then, you must take off the veins of the foie gras (sometimes you can purchase the foie gras without the veins). This is where the problem started…This is not an easy part of work. I looked on internet some videos illustrated the key points and technique to take off veins of a foie gras and then I tried myself. The difficult thing is to find the veins, take them off without destroying the whole structure of the foie gras.
It was very hard to do. On the right you can see the pieces of foie gras containing the veins and on the left the foie gras I almost totally destroyed!
Then I added 13g salt per kilo and 3g of pepper per kilo of foie gras. Some people recommend seasoning the foie gras with Armagnac or Porto. I put no alcohol at all.
Next step is to create a “ballotine”.
The “ballotine” was also not easy to form. I took a food grade plastic wrap, put the foie gras pieces inside and compressed them, first to take off the air but also to create a cylinder. Several plastics wrap pieces were necessary to fulfill this step.
Next step was to vacuum the foie gras in a pouch. I read on internet that the best way to keep a frame while cooking was to use a “shrink” bag. I didn’t have any so I did it with a regular cuisson sous vide bag.
Cooking the foie gras ballotine: my foie gras cylinder was approx. 17 cm long and 6 cm of diameter. The more an ingredient is fat the best it conducts heat. I cooked my ballotine at 58°C during 47 minutes with immersion circulator.
During the cooking process air appeared in the ballotine and my pouche started to float on the surface. I have probably not compressed enough the foie gras and not vacuumed enough the pouch. Therefore I fixed the pouch with a heavy tool down in my cooking pot.
Next step was to chill the ballotine. As you can see I took this task very seriously.
My foie gras became slightly brown and a significant amount of yellow fat appeared on one side of the pouch (unfortunately you can’t see it on the picture). I was surprised to see that by ballotine kept its cylinder frame. My worry was to maintain this frame until the total cool down of the foie gras. For this purpose I took a piece of carton I curved like a half-cylinder and place the ballotine inside. After I left the ballotine in the fridge for a night with the carton, the whole ballotine kept its perfect frame of a cylinder.
The result was really not so bad! With a little bit of fig, the taste was marvelous and the texture fantastic.
In addition, a little bit of Sauterne Château de Rolland (Barsac) 2004…Très, très bon!
This is my first try with cooking shellfish sous vide : a lobster tail.
I looked at Thomas Keller’s time and temperature table which mentioned a cooking temperature at 60°C during 15 minutes for a lobster tail. I am realizing more and more that Baldwin’s Sous Vide Guide is very practical. The information about the thickness is key. Douglas Baldwin indicates a 20 mm shellfish is pasteurized at 60.5°C at the condition being cooked during 41 minutes. I have decided to follow Douglas’ recommendations.
I took off the shell and seasoned the lobster tail with salt, pepper and a frozen teaspoon of “extra vierge” olive oil. After cooking I seared the lobster tail some seconds in a skillet with some olive oil.
The result was very good. The flesh of the lobster was moist and had a very pleasant flavour of olive oil.
Another successful try!