Sous Vide Cooking

Tag: Swid

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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