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New to Sous Vide!

stomsf Nov 10, 2010 01:08 PM

Hi CHers -- my hubby got me an early X-mas/Birthday present of a Sous Vide Professional immersion circulator -- I think I'm unpacking it tonight. What should be my first foray into SV cooking?

I'm thinking a chicken breast -- in the past have been leaning more towards chicken thighs as I think the breast meat is too dry (I know, probably haven't been cooking them right) but am willing to try one sous vide. A vacuum bag, a few spices, a dab of butter or chicken or bacon fat..... salt and pepper.

Open to suggestions for the weekend as well. Was contemplating doing the turkey for T-Day but that may be too ambitious at this point... maybe Christmas. :-)

  1. Indirect Heat Nov 10, 2010 02:17 PM

    I've had brilliant success with fish. http://indirectheat.blogspot.com/2010/05/sous-vide-salmon.html

    I've had complaints about steak. http://indirectheat.blogspot.com/2010...

    Have yet to try poultry. But sous vide fish is the best cooked fish you'll ever have.

    1. amokscience Nov 10, 2010 02:32 PM

      Chicken is good. Items inside a vacuum bag can get a bit 'shaped' so it's good to finish with a pan sear and a light sauce. Breast meat can come out *glistening* when sliced into.

      1. cowboyardee Nov 10, 2010 03:09 PM

        There's like a trillion things that I feel are best cooked sous vide. Chicken breast is certainly among them. Keep in mind that you may want to brown the chicken in a saute pan after a short rest from the water bath. I also do chicken thighs at a higher temperature for longer (like 150 for 2 hours) and then chill it in the fridge under a weight, finally browning and bringing back up to temp in a saute pan. Nice effect, meat very dense and flavorful but still silky and moist. You can also easily confit chicken or duck legs sous vide (180 for like 6-8 hours), saving on how much fat you need.

        My favorite (non-chicken) things:
        low temp salmon (try at a few temps to see where you like it - 105, 116, 126 are all very different effects - also keep in mind that the salmon here is still essentially raw)

        butter poached lobster (at about 140)

        20 hour pork shoulder (cut pork shoulder into 1.5 inch thick slabs, cook with salt and sugar at 145 for 20 hours, chill, finish on a very hot grill - it has the most intense pork flavor with the texture of filet mignon steak)

        Everyone loves sous vide short ribs. Try 48 hours at 140 or 72 hours at 133.

        I never liked "the perfect egg" (cook an egg at 146 for about an hour) very much until I figured out my favorite way to use it - once the egg is done, put it into a hot soup (ramen or other Asian style garnished soups are ideal) right before serving and the heat from the soup with barely firm up the egg white leaving the yolk a custard when you break into it.

        There's lots of other stuff, but those are some of my favorites.

        1. w
          wattacetti Nov 10, 2010 05:09 PM

          Chicken breast is a good place to inaugurate your foray into SV cooking. Thyme, salt, long pepper, butter. I find that bacon fat interferes and muddies the taste.

          Cowboyardee has pretty much listed much of the "good" stuff.

          I've also done duck and goose breast (130ºF, 6 hours followed by sear), scallops (125ºF) and used someone else's circulator for pork belly (24h, 150ºF). And whole foie gras, which is one of the reasons why SV was developed in the first place.

          1. s
            stomsf Nov 11, 2010 07:25 AM

            Thanks everybody!

            So I did both chicken breasts and a couple of "perfect" eggs. The chicken breast was awesome -- as I mentioned above I usually steer away from chicken breasts as they are too dry and mealy when I make them. I bagged them after spicing them, then opened them back up to add the bacon grease (doh!) then cooked at 147 degrees for about an hour. Flash browned them on a cast iron skillet. Result? We didn't notice a muddy flavor with the bacon fat but may try a poultry fat tonight, but incredibly moist and flavorful. Definitely an edible chicken breast, IMHO. Total success for the technique.

            Next -- cool the bath and toss (kiddng, gently lower into the bath) a couple of eggs at a bath of 145.5 degrees, left for an hour. A quick dip in an ice bath then the moment of truth -- crack the egg into a small bowl. Perfect shape, semi-solid white and completely liquid yolk. The perfect soft boiled egg.

            I was too busy eating to take pictures, but perhaps the top sirloin on the menu tonight or some fish over the weekend will get famous. :o)

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