Sous vide recipes

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Some recipes, and links to other recipes.

Food safety notes

You need to make sure that the bags are fully immersed in the water throughout the cooking time. If you're using manual-seal bags, make sure that you remove as much air as possible to get a good thermal contact between the food and the water.

I use small metal cooling racks and metal spoons placed on top of the food bags to keep them immersed. Note that some water in the food may evaporate during cooking, causing the bag to float more after a while, so make sure the bags are well weighed down.

If you're at all worried about the state of the food, throw it out. It's not worth eating stuff that's been happily breeding food pathogens (and accumulating their toxins) in perfect growing conditions for several hours.

Beef steaks

Marinade in red wine and crushed garlic before. Dry the steaks and pat dry before placing them in a vacuum sealer bag.

Cook at 55⁰C-58⁰C for 60 minutes.

Verdict: Don't overdo the marinade, either in flavour or length of time. The flavours don't diminish with cooking, unlike traditional frying.

Chicken breasts

60⁰C-63⁰C, 60 minutes.

Verdict: Excellent chicken, moist with a stronger chicken flavour than traditionally-cooked chicken. Some people liken the consistency to processed chicken.

Duck leg confit

  • Does two duck legs.
  • Crush a couple of bay leaves into a bowl. Add a couple of teaspoons of dried thyme and a tablespoon of salt. Mix and rub into the legs, particularly into the meat.
(Alternatively, use about ¼ teaspoon of five spice powder per leg instead of the thyme and bay. You still need the salt.)
  • Store in the fridge for 24 hours.
  • Rinse thoroughly under cold water. You may need to remove the membrane from the meat if the herbs stick to it.
  • Place each leg into a separate bag. There's no need to add additional duck fat, but adding a tablespoon per leg won't hurt. (I don't bother.)
  • Cook at 74⁰C for 20 hours.
  • After cooking, remove the skin and shallow fry for a few minutes to crisp it up.
  • Serve together with the shredded meat.
  • Reserve the liquid from the bags: it's more duck fat and gelatine.

Verdict: Sublime. Just sublime.

Glazed carrots (don't)

Warning! Do not use this recipe in a home-made SV setup that has plastic parts in the water bath (such as an aquarium pump as an agitator, or a perspex support). The hot water will melt the plastic parts, so that your pump will no longer work and the support will melt. You have been warned!

  • Wash and cut 500g carrots into 2cm chunks (baby carrots can be left whole).
  • Seal with 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp sugar, and perhaps a bit of pepper.
  • Cook for 1 hour at 84⁰C.
  • After cooking, carrots can be kept in the bag in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Empty contents of bag into a hot frying pan. Cook over a high heat until all the water has evaporated and the carrots are glazed.

(Recipe from Serious Eats.)

Verdict: Don't do this. The carrots were nice, but not sufficiently nice to justify the damage to the cooker.

Retrograde starch mashed potatoes

  • Slice potatoes and cook at 66⁰C for 30 minutes
  • Cool rapidly under running cold water
  • Cook normally in boiling, not simmering, water
  • Mash, and it won't end up gloopy

Verdict: First attempt at 70⁰C was OK, but the dryer texture of the mash wasn't what people were used to, so they preferred the traditional boiled potatoes. I couldn't tell a great deal of difference, it must be said.

Aspargus

  • Place in bag with salt, pepper, and a little butter
  • Cook at 65⁰C for 8-15 minutes (opinions vary on the correct time)

Verdict: The asparagus was cooked, but still very crunchy. We all preferred the more traditional, steamed asparagus.

Marinated Hanger Steak Ssäm (untried)

48 hour Sous Vide Short Ribs (Momofuku)

(US short ribs are UK thin ribs) Verdict: OK, but nothing special.

Lamb shanks with port (untried)

Leg of Mutton

No aromatics beyond a little salt and pepper, maybe a smattering of garlic. 58⁰C for 24 hours. Flash-fry in a pan afterwards to brown the outside.

The version from Kamikaze Cookery recommends cooking at 70⁰C, but that's too hot. It just overcooks the muscle tissue, leaving it dry.

Verdict: Just fabulous. The mutton was wonderfully moist and tender, with loads of flavour. And that flavour was spectacular!

Pork ribs (untried)

  • Marinade in 7% salt solution for 24 hours.
  • Dry and add dry rub. Seal.
  • Cook at 63⁰C for 24 hours.
  • Dry and fry, preferably deep-fry for a few moments to crisp.

Using Baldwin's recipe.

Pork Char Sui

Details from an eGullet post.

Previously I had cooked it for 4 hours at 130F (55⁰C). Today was 4 hours at 140F (60⁰C). It was, of course, less pink, but still tender and juicy and we all liked the texture much better. So this is the way I will be doing it from now on.

To recap, I start with pork tenderloin. Rub it liberally with a packaged char siu powder (normally intended to be mixed with water to form a marinade) then vacuum seal it and refrigerate for about 12 hours. Then into the bath for 4-5 hours at 60⁰C. Remove from bath and pat dry, then baste on all sides with honey. Char it on a very hot BBQ for a few minutes on each side (or you can do it under a broiler). Remove and rebaste with honey and allow to rest a while, then slice.

An alternative, with pork belly and a home-made marinade.

This is sufficient for two tenterloins

  • Garlic, minced: 5 grams
  • Sugar: 15 grams
  • Five spice: 1 gram
  • Hoisin: 25 grams
  • Honey: 20 grams
  • Shaoxing wine: 15 grams
  • Usukuchi (light) soy: 15 grams
  • Sesame oil: 15 grams

Combine the ingredients, spread over the tenderloins, and marinade for 12 hours at least. Then cook for 4 hours at 60⁰C, remove and pat dry, and baste with another batch of marinade before frying or grilling.

Verdict: I tried it with the home-made marinade over pork tenderloin at 60⁰C for four hours. It was great. Lots of flavour from the marinade and the pork was lovely and tender. I had to use a frying pan to char the meat afterwards, and that wasn't too successful. But it didn't detract from the flavour of the dish.

Roast (leg of) pork

  • Remove the skin for crackling, leaving as much fat as possible on the skin.
  • Bag up the meat with a little bit of sage.
  • Cook at 70⁰C for 24 hours.
  • Dry the skin, score, and rub in about a dessertspoon of salt. Wrap the skin in a teatowel and keep in the fridge for 23 hours.
  • 45 mins before serving, preheat the oven to 220⁰C.
  • Place the skin on a baking sheet in the oven. After 10 mins, turn the heat down to 170⁰C.
  • After cooking for 24 hours, remove the pork, dry off, and sear in a very hot pan.
  • Reserve the pork juices for gravy.
  • Slice and serve with the crackling.
Verdict: The crackling was fantastic. The pork was nicely done and quite tender, though it was a little overcooked. As leg of pork isn't a tough cut, I'll try it at 60⁰C for 24 hours next time.

Ingredient sources

Jarvis Butchers are a good source of the various odd cuts of meat, as is the butcher's counter at Morrisons.

See also