Sous Vide Cooking

Tag: Sous vide at home

Chef Touch System – The all in one sous vide cooking at home solution from KitchenAid

by on Aug.16, 2010, under Equipments & Accessories

Today I saw an interesting piece of sous vide cooking equipment called Chef Touch System from KitchenAid. This concept gather a vacuum chamber sealer (a must in terms of vacuum that gives you the possibility to add liquids such as oil or a marinade in you pouch without destroying the machine) a shock freezer (very usefull and safe device if you want to keep meats in the freezer after you cooked it at low temperature) and a steam oven.

The concept of this all in one sous vide equipment gives an idea of what could look our kitchen in a close futur. The only weak point of this beautiful item is the steam oven. Why not replacing it with a PID controlled steared water bath?

Any idea of the price of the Chef Touch System and availability?

Information added October 23rd :

Thanks to N.Lavirotte, we now know the ChefTouch System is available since September in Europe. Official retail price are as follow :

-Vacuum chamber : 2,950 € incl. VAT
- Shock Freezer : 5,000 € incl. VAT
- Oven : steam ( 1,550 €) combi (1,850 € ) incl. VAT
- Kitchen high cabinet : 2,700 € incl. VAT

Total = 12,500 € (combi oven) incl. VAT (approx. 17,500 USD)

JF

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Sous vide at home – Confit duck legs – Multiple tries

by on Apr.07, 2010, under Recipes, Time and Accurate Temperature

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.

Bon appétit!

Jean-François

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Sous Vide & Electricity consumption – Astonishing!

by on Jan.17, 2010, under Equipments & Accessories


There is now some weeks I wanted to verify by myself if a sous vide equipment is more energy efficient than a “traditional” convection oven. Cooking sous vide some kind of meats can take even several days (for example 72 hours pork ribbs at 57°C). What are the electricity costs?

How to proceed to illustrate this point?
My first thought was to compare the quantity of energy used by a convection oven and an immersion circulator (or a PID controller) in order to obtain the same doneness (rosé) on a 1 Kg beef filet.
Therefore I purchased in a do it yourself shop a very cheap appliance (EUR 11) to calculate the quantity of energy used by an electrical appliance (“consomètre” – refer to the picture on the left).
Unfortunately this “consomètre” cannot be plugged to my convection oven (the electrical cables of the oven are directly connected in the wall.  In other word I have no mains where to plug this “consomètre”.

Thus I have decided to restrict my test to the assessment of the amount of energy used during a cooking process of at least 8 hours at 60°C. The final goal is to determine the cost of such cooking process.

I will not spend any time on the scientific explanation between Power and Energy since the purpose of this blog is only cooking. Nevertheless, for those who want to refresh their mind about physics basics I recommend reading this small article.

In order to determine the price of the energy consumption of an immersion circulator during 8 hours at 60°C I took a round pot of 15 liters and filled it with 28°C tap water.

It took 22 minutes for the swid to reach the target temperature of 60°C at full power (2,170 W).

Then the swid was stable very fast (some secondes only). At this stage the total energy consumption was 0.74 KWh which represents 8 cents (in France, 1 KWh = 0.11 €).

During the next 8 minutes the swid was struggling with power variation in the range from 50W to 600W. I would say the average could be in the area of 300W.
After 1 hour (excl. pre heating) the power variation was in the range from 14W to 200 W. At this stage (1:20 hours incl pre heating) the total energy consumption was 1.06 KWh.

Then I covered the tank with a plastic wrap in order to avoid water evaporation and let the swid run for additional 7:25 hours. When I came back in the morning the result was amazing. Power variation was in the range from 11 to 25 W. Total energy consumption was 2.05KWh (8:45 hours incl pre heating).

For France this represents a cost of approx. € 0.22 (0.33$ with currency rate of 1€ = 1.5 $). Astonishing isn’t it?

Jean-François

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Duck Foie Gras cooked sous vide at 58°C during 47 minutes

by on Dec.27, 2009, under Recipes, Time and Accurate Temperature

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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.

sous_vide_foie_gras1

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.

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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!

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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”.

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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.

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Next step was to chill the ballotine. As you can see I took this task very seriously.

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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.

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The result was really not so bad! With a little bit of fig, the taste was marvelous and the texture fantastic.

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In addition, a little bit of Sauterne Château de Rolland (Barsac) 2004…Très, très bon!

Jean-François

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Sous Vide at Home – The perfect egg at 64.5°C ?

by on Nov.21, 2009, under Time and Accurate Temperature

sous-vide-at-home-egg-64-swid-addelice-immersion-circulator-water-bath

Three months ago I tried a soft boiled egg at 63°C during 1 hour. I have admitted that it was not the perfect egg for me and promissed to make another try. This time I cooked an egg 50 minutes at a constant 64.5°C temparature.

And here is the result!

sous-vide-at-home-egg-64-swid-addelice-immersion-circulator-water-bath-2(Soft boiled egg cooked at 64.5°C during 50 minutes)

 The egg at 64.5°C has nothing to do compared to the 63°C one (see the last picture down this post). The appearance of the 64.5°C is better, the white egg is more compact and doesn’t fall down like the 63°C one.

sous-vide-at-home-egg-64-swid-addelice-immersion-circulator-water-bath-3(Soft boiled egg cooked at 64.5°C during 50 minutes)

The yolk is also very different compared to the 63°C one.

sous-vide-at-home-egg-64-swid-addelice-immersion-circulator-water-bath-4(Soft boiled egg cooked at 64.5°C during 50 minutes)

See bellow the picture I made 3 months ago of the 63°C soft boiled egg with the Sousvidemagic and above the 64.5°C egg with the swid of Addélice. This is crazy to see how a difference of only 1.5°C can change so much the texture of an egg.
As I told it before I didn’t really like the 63°C egg but the 64.5°C was fantastic!! Absolutly incredible…I strongly recommend anybody trying it!
I read on internet that such egg was impossible to do without the precision and stability of an immersion circulator. I know understand why. If the temperature variation is equal or higher to 1°C then this can change the final texture of the white egg and yolk. The cool thing is also to be sure to reproduce the same result each time you set your immersion circulator at 64.5°C! I am definitely getting found of this cooking equipment.

sous-vide-cooking-cookery-equipment-immersion-circulator-thermal-circulator-egg-63-c(63°C soft boiled egg cooked during 60 minutes)

Jean François

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