Tips & Tricks

Preparing for Fall Dinners

There are certain universal benchmarks which remind us that yes, fall is upon us. The days get shorter, mornings are crisper, school supplies are in demand, and blog writers can’t help but make obvious statements about fall.

The change in seasons also marks a change in what we eat. As cooler weather sets in, there is little more comforting than a warm, hearty meal such as a stew or soup. Unfortunately, cooking a good stew on a stovetop or in an oven can be an involved process – the ingredients must be periodically stirred and the pot must be watched to ensure it doesn’t boil. Even experienced cooks often find themselves eating an overcooked stew with dry, tough meat.

Sous vide stews and soups, on the other hand, mean that dinner will be ready whenever you are, with fork-tender meat no matter how long it cooks. Stews and soups are perfect make-ahead meals, ideal for nights when you want a home-cooked meal but don’t want to be stuck cooking as soon as you get home. There are many great recipes out there for soups and stews, but here are some of our favorites:

The ingredients for the Sous Vide Beef Goulash can be prepared the night before and will be ready for the following night’s dinner. The Traditional Irish Lamb Stew Sous Vide is a hearty meal that can be prepared in the morning and serve six that evening. Large batches of Meat Week (Chicken) Soup can be cooked then quick-chilled, to be reheated for easy lunches at work.

Of course, if soups and stews aren’t your meal of choice (we once heard soup described as being “too wet”), there are plenty of other perfect-for-fall recipes available in our recipe section.

Do you have a favorite fall recipe, stew or otherwise? Share it in our comments section or on our Facebook page. And don’t forget to tweet us a pic of your finished creation, @SousVideSupreme!

Sous Vide Soft-cooked Goose Egg?

A Twitter reader queried us: How long would it take to soft cook a goose egg? Good question!

goose-egg-vs-chicken-eggAs with all things sous-vide cooked, time to reach target temperature completely depends on the the distance the heat of the water bath has to cross to heat the food from edge to edge. With eggs, the critical measurement is its circumference at its ‘equator’ or widest point. That’s true regardless of type of egg from quail to ostrich! Douglas Baldwin–mathematical wizard that he is–has worked out the equations for we lesser mortals and presents the results nicely in his great book SousVide for the Home Cook giving us cooking times in quarter inch increments from 2 to 8 inches (or in those used metric measurements, in half centimeter increments from 5 to 20 cm) for the quick cooking method done at 167F/75C. Be advised that the quick cooking method of soft poaching in the shell demands precise timing, because at this temperature, if you leave them longer than the recommended time, you will have lovely hard boiled eggs. Fortunately the SousVide Supreme comes equipped with a handy built in timer that you can set, so that your precise timing won’t be a pain.

We thought it might be helpful to share that chart as a ready reference, with gratitude and full credit to Douglas Baldwin! So no matter what sort of egg you need to cook (up to an 8 inch diameter, so not the recent discovery of the giant elephant bird egg!) you need only measure and go!

Douglas_Baldwin_Egg_Timer_Chart_ from_Sous_Vide_for_the_Home_Cook

An Interview with UK Food Blogger John Loydall

Sous vide cooking is fast becoming a global phenomenon, with the SousVide Supreme now available throughout the US, Europe, and the UK, but also now in markets as diverse as Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Russia, Israel, and Scandinavia. The widespread adoption of the technique is creating fans among cooks of every skill level worldwide. One is UK photographer (and prolific food blogger) John Loydall, whose fabulous food photographs caught our eye. They are simply food porn at its finest.

Since he isn’t a chef by trade–and therefore a lot like the rest of us–we were curious about what drew him to sous vide. We caught up with him this week to ask him if he’d be willing to share a bit of his sous vide-ing experience with our readers. Happily, he agreed, and what follows will give us all some great ideas and tips for upcoming holiday meals!

SVS: Why did you first become interested in sous vide cooking?

JL: It was a combination of watching cookery shows where I’d seen professional chefs using this technique and also when I’d eaten out at restaurants, where I tried dishes like 24-hour blade of beef and eggs cooked for 45 minutes. There was something magical about both the process and the results – I just had to know how it all worked and how they achieved such amazing results.

SVS: What is the most interesting thing you’ve cooked sous vide?

JL: The pumpkin risotto I cooked last week was a real success. Risotto isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when cooking sous vide, but it works really well. I cooked half the pumpkin with the risotto and then roast the other half. When the risotto was ready I finished it off in a pan with the roast pumpkin and a generous chunk of butter. [OK, so we are hoping he will share this recipe with us all in coming weeks, but if you're curious, here's a recipe for Garlic Cheese Risotto that will show you the basic sous vide risotto technique.]

SVS: You are a professional photographer and take exceptional photographs of the food you cook. What is your culinary background?



JL: I’ve been cooking since I was young, but only began to take it seriously when I had to cook for myself every day when I went to university. Limited funds meant I had to learn to cook with cheaper ingredients. That’s not a bad thing though – it makes you think about developing flavor from what you’ve got available and making the most of leftovers. I also learnt to cook with cheaper, more obscure cuts of meat – something I still like to do nowadays.

I’ve always enjoyed the process of cooking – the preparation, pulling the different components together and then the final presentation of the dish. I think it often helps to think about contrast in a dish – hot with cold, sweet with sour, soft with crunch – that’s what really makes a dish.

When I started working in photography, it didn’t initially occur to me to photograph food, but as I progressed I began to see similarities between the two disciplines. Process, contrast, composition and the final presentation of a photo – it really ties in nicely with cookery. When I started photographing food, it immediately clicked – it made sense to me. The colours and textures you get in a dish often make a great photo.

Photographing food has certainly helped my cookery – I have to think about every element of a dish and how it’s going to look on a plate. Overcooked food never looks good, especially when you take a detailed photograph of it. Taking photos of your food is a brilliant way to force you to up your game when putting a dish together.

SVS: Are you cooking sous vide for the holidays?



JL: Definitely! Christmas is all about good hearty food and entertaining – serving a meal that has been cooked sous vide is a real treat – especially if you can tell your guests that the food has been cooking for 48 hours – it has a real sense of occasion to it.

SVS: Do you have a favorite holiday recipe that you have adapted to sous vide cooking?



JL: Every Christmas we get a box of pheasants from a local Boxing Day shoot. We spend the day gutting and preparing them – they usually end up roast, casseroled or in a curry. This year I’ll be cooking sous vide pheasant. Game meat can often end up a little on the dry side, so cooking sous vide makes perfect sense – locking in the moisture and flavor and requiring only a brief sear in the pan afterwards. I think that’s the meal I’m most looking forward to this Christmas.

SVS: OK — we are intrigued! You’ll have to promise to blog about it and let us all know how it turns out. Cooking game birds is tough traditionally and sous vide makes it so simple and foolproof, as it does for many foods. Which food group do you think benefits most from sous vide cooking?



JL: Well – meat is the obvious choice here – the control you have when cooking steaks is incredible and slow-cooked (24hrs+) meat takes on an incredible texture, when cooked with the SousVide Supreme. But for me the real revelation has been vegetables – the first thing I cooked sous vide was carrots – nothing complicated, I just sliced them lengthways and cooked them with a little salt and pepper and some butter. The firmness and flavor was a real surprise – they still had a decent bite and had so much more flavor than boiling or steaming them. I really like the way vegetables keep their shape when you cook them sous vide – if you take care prepping your veg it really pays off when you plate up – they still look great.

SVS: If you were a novice cook, what would be you ‘go-to’, ‘never fail’ sous vide dish to impress?



JL: I think I’d go for a cheap cut of beef – maybe brisket or flank. Cooked low and slow for 48 hours. You really don’t need to be too precise with the timing, so you can serve it whenever the rest of your meal is ready. The great thing is, you’re guaranteed a beautiful, fall-apart piece of meat that everyone will love and it hasn’t cost you the earth. Finish it off in a pan or just coat it in a sauce and you’ve got an amazing dish. Keep it simple – serve with oven roast potato wedges and maybe a simple salad. It doesn’t need to be complicated – once you’ve got that meat cooked to perfection you don’t need to do much more to create something pretty special.

SVS: If you were a novice cook and wanted to impress family or friends during the holidays, what would you attempt with sous vide cooking to blow the crowd away?



JL: I’d certainly take advantage of the way you can cook multiple dishes sous vide at the same time. Not necessarily a Christmas dish, but I think a fish course always adds a special touch to a meal. For the fish course – sea bass with sliced fennel and orange – reasonably light, but sets you up for the main course. Fish cooked sous vide is a pleasure to eat – once you understand the timings you’re guaranteed perfectly cooked fish.

For the meat course – something with a bit of a twist – sous vide duck with vanilla and lime creamy mashed potato. I’d make a brandy and port-based sauce with a touch of star anise and cinnamon to give it that Christmas feel and then parsnip crisps to add textural contrast. [OK, John, we need these, too!!]

One of the great things about cooking sous vide is that it frees you up to concentrate on your sauces and other side dishes – a meal like this means you can really get that all-important sauce perfected, without having to rush when you’re ready to serve.

I think with a meal like this you can tailor it to your skill level. If you’re just starting out, you can still get the same results with the fish and meat, but maybe simplify the veg. It will still be impressive that you’ve managed to cook fish and duck to perfection. If you’re a little more competent you can really elaborate on the other ingredients and create something extraordinary.

An Interview with New York Chef James Briscione

We recently had the chance to talk to Chef James Briscione (Institute of Culinary Education in New York) about his experience with sous vide cooking (and our humble machine in particular.) He’ll be teaching classes featuring sous vide cooking at the Institute in New York City this summer for aspiring chefs and even one recreational cooking classes for us foodies. In it, Chef Briscione will take students through the ins and outs of this precise cooking method and help them understand how to get flavors and textures out of food they maybe never have thought possible. Foods prepared will include: 45 Minutes Eggs; Chicken Breasts; Beef Short Ribs and more. If you are in the New York City area August 19 and are interested you can find the
(Registration information and Class calendar here.) For the rest of us not geographically lucky enough to be able to attend the class, Chef Briscione was kind enough to provide one of his favorite sous vide recipes.

SVS: When/how did you first come to sous vide cooking?

JB: The first time I saw anything cooked sous vide was at Restaurant Daniel [Chef Daniel Boulud’s premier restaurant in New York City] but it wasn’t until I started teaching at The Institute of Culinary Education in 2007 that I began to really use and experiment with it. In 2010 I had the chance to go to Venice, Italy to train with an Italian chef who is an absolute sous vide wiz and my technique and production has grown in leaps and bounds since then.

SVS: In your opinion, what food (or food category) benefits most from the technique?

JB: So many different types of food can become truly magical when cooked sous vide, it’s really tough to pick one that benefits the most. Since the majority of people over cook chicken with traditional methods, I think a sous vide chicken breast can be a truly eye opening experience.

SVS: What’s the most delicious or unusual sous-vide cooked food you’ve ever tasted? Or cooked yourself?

JB: Maybe not unusual, but one of the most unexpected things I ever made sous vide was citrus syrups that I used to create homemade sodas and cocktails. I pack segments of citrus in bags with sugar and cook them very gently (at 135˚F) until the sugar draws the juices out of the fruit and dissolves to create the syrups. The great thing about this technique is that unlike simmering, the citrus flavor remains bright, fresh and aromatic.
And then there was the time that de-boned a pigs head- whole- cooked it sous vide and made it into a torchon.

SVS: Wow! We’ll need to circle back to learn more about this whole pigs head adventure when we’ve got more time. Apart from a pig’s head torchon, what’s your go-to sous vide dish to impress?

JB: For me, beef short ribs and/or a ribeye steak are going to blow people away every time. I set my sous vide supreme to 132.5˚F (56˚C), put the seared short ribs in one bag and a ribeye steak in another. I leave the short ribs to cook for 48 hours and the steak just a quick 2.5 hours. Afterwards I re-sear both meats and baste them butter, garlic and thyme. Then I serve a few slices of each meat together with whatever my favorite seasonal side dish may be at the time.

SVS: Have you ever had a total sous vide flop? If yes, why? What happened?

JB: Too many to count! I think one of the popular misconceptions of sous vide is that because you’re cooking at a low temperature you can’t over cook your food. I’m here to tell you it’s not true.

SVS: You certainly can overcook if you set the water oven to too hot a temperature. So what happened?

JB: One of my biggest flops was a pork loin that I though I was going to make so tender and juicy by cooking it for 6 hours at 150˚F. Needless to say tender and juicy are probably the last two words you would use to describe that meal!

SVS: So what did you learn from that experience?

JB: I learned two great things from that gigantic flop. #1 – 150F is a fine internal temperature, if you’re roasting or grilling pork (though maybe still just a touch high), but those standard temperatures don’t always translate directly for sous vide cooking. [You really have to follow the temperature guides that have been worked out.] Especially with pork. It doesn’t need to be cooked nearly as high, when done sous vide. And #2 – tender cuts need shorter cooking times. No matter how you may try, you can’t make a tender cut turn out like a braise, so don’t try. Cook tender meats just until done, then stop!

SVS: How do you incorporate this technique into your daily work/home life?

JB: Just like everyone else, we are a busy family. As a writer my wife works from home, which means she’s holding down two full time jobs, since she cares for our 3-year-old daughter as well. One of her favorite quick lunches is sous vide salmon. We’ll cook 3 or 4 pieces of salmon in individual bags on a Sunday, then store them in the refrigerator for the week. That way she can just zip open a bag and have lunch ready in minutes. She’s a great cook too so she is always whipping up a new sauce or relish with fresh ingredients from the farmer’s market to top her fish.

Also, living in a New York City apartment, counter and oven space is in high demand, so when ever we entertain, we always prepare the entrée in our sous vide supreme, so we have plenty of space for the important things like a pitcher of cocktails or glasses of wine!

SVS: Why do you think the sous vide trend has now taken off?

JB: Before the proliferation of sous vide, home cooks couldn’t have access to same tools and equipment as a professional chef without remodeling their entire home. Now, not only can they use the exact same tools professional chefs around the world are using, they can get the same results.

SVS: What do you think foodie home cooks love about the technique?

JB: Whether you grill, broil or sauté a chicken breast, the result is going to be pretty similar. Sous vide cooking is so unique. It creates a product unlike anything else. The results are truly memorable and the best part is, the technique is totally accessible. You do not need years of practice and training to get a great result.

SVS: What do chefs love about the technique?

JB: Professional cooking is about consistency. You want every person in your dining room to have the same great experience. So as a chef, you have to make sure that every piece of food that leaves the kitchen is perfect. When you cook sous vide, you get a consistent, reliable product and you can be confident no one is struggling to saw through an over cooked steak. Plus, sous vide allows chefs creates textures in food that are impossible through any other technique.


SVS: OK. Let’s go to the other end of the spectrum. What would you recommend as an easy ‘get started with sous vide’ food – a real no fail for the novice cook?

JB: I think simple proteins that only need short cooking times are the best place to start. Salmon filets are ready in just 20 minutes or a boneless chicken breast that is done in 30 minutes. You vary their flavor so much with how you season them before cooking and you can finish them in different ways- seared, grilled broiled, fried- the possibilities are endless. Of course, easiest of all but still an amazing result is the 45 minute egg- no vacuum or bags required- just perfectly poached eggs every time.

SVS: How does the SousVide Supreme (or SousVide Supreme Chef) compare to other sous vide cooking equipment you’ve used?

JB:My wife bought me a SousVide Supreme for Christmas years ago and I have loved it ever since. Other sous vide equipment can be bulky or require big containers for a water bath. Living in New York City where my kitchen is size of most people’s bathrooms, SousVide Supreme is the ideal solution. But it’s not just about saving space- the SousVide Supreme is as accurate and reliable as any machine I have ever used. Mine has been turning out consistently delicious results for almost 3 years now!

Visit James Briscione’s personal blog here.

Light A Fire With Your Water Oven

Truly romantic moments are few and far between these days. We’re not suggesting that romance is dead. In fact, we firmly believe that romance is alive and well.

The problem is that a romantic gesture involves effort, and modern conveniences have done a remarkable job of simplifying our lives. Text messages are sent in lieu of love letters, the perfect gift can be found via Amazon wishlists, and it’s hard to pine for someone when their every thought is posted on Twitter.

This Valentine’s Day, branch out beyond the table for two at an expensive restaurant. Anyone can make reservations at a restaurant. Instead, try something different, a little adventurous, and very romantic: prepare a gourmet, restaurant-quality meal at home.  We suggest this delicious  Halibut Beurre Rouge with Shaved Asparagus, Morels, and Heirloom Potatoes, recipe courtesy of Chef Phillip Foss of Chicago’s EL Ideas restaurant. Don’t worry, you won’t have to prepare the whole recipe on your own. Just turn to the best sous chef a gourmet cook could ask for: your SousVide Supreme.

Put in that little bit of extra effort to make an unforgettable romantic gesture. In this case, “that little bit” is the key. Chef Phillip Foss’ recipe may be an ambitious dish to attempt, but it’s infinitely easier to perfect thanks to sous vide cooking.  Since you don’t have to keep an eye on the halibut, you’re free to prepare the rest of your plating as the halibut cooks to perfection in 20 minutes. Your SousVide Supreme is a modern convenience that actually makes romantic gestures easier.

Finish the meal with an elegant Classic Crème Brûlée for dessert. Made in advance with the help of your SousVide Supreme, the light custard is a sweet compliment to the complex flavors of the Halibut Beurre Rouge.

If you have a special Valentine’s Day dinner menu, or if you plan on using ours, let us know! Share your Valentine’s Day successes with us on Twitter or our Facebook page.

4 Resolutions Made Easier With Sous Vide

We’re a little over a week into 2013, and we’re starting to remember why several of our resolutions gave us a bout of déjà vu: we made many of these same resolutions a year ago. As it turns out, resolutions are really hard to keep.

This year, resolve to stick to your resolutions with the help of sous vide cooking. Although the SousVide Supreme can’t help you with every resolution (it will not stop me from checking emails at stoplights), it can be immensely helpful when it comes to kitchen-related resolutions. Here are a few of our suggestions:

1. If you want to … Eat Healthier
Whether you’re trying to lose some weight or you’re just trying to be a little kinder to your body, there’s no time like the present to start eating right. Sous vide cooking frees you from the days of the plain grilled chicken breast with a side of steamed broccoli. Get your Omega-3s with our delicious Olive Oil Poached Sous Vide Salmon with Roasted Ruby Red Beets, or try Jason Wilson’s Sous Vide Garden Vegetable Salad for your daily dose of veggies. Let’s be honest: all the nutritional information on menus still won’t tell you what’s in your meal. When you eat at home, you know exactly what’s going into your food. Even better, you know exactly what’s going into your restaurant-quality food that you’ve made for a fraction of the price. Which brings us to resolution number two:

2. If you want to … Save Money
For a busy family trying to save money, fast food often finds its way to the dinner table. With sous vide cooking, meals can be prepared ahead of time and left in the SousVide Supreme to cook through the day. Sous vide cooking works particularly well for tougher – and, therefore, cheaper – cuts of meat such as flank steak. We’ve devoted an entire page to meal planning and money saving tips, because lower grocery bills are good, and one fewer night of McNuggets is even better.

3. If you want to … Become a Gourmet Chef
Expand your repertoire in 2012 with dishes that inspire you. It doesn’t matter if you can’t boil an egg: sous vide cooking will let you create restaurant-worthy dishes in your own kitchen. For inspiration, watch our Sous Vide Gourmet Cooking Series featuring James Beard winner Jason Wilson, then make a restaurant-worthy Saffron-Scented Sous Vide Halibut. It’s time to bring those glossy cookbook photographs to life.

4. If you want to … Entertain More
Maybe you found yourself saying “I haven’t seen you in ages!” to multiple friends at holiday parties. Maybe you finally bought a dining room table. Whatever the reason, if you’ve decided that this is the year to start entertaining friends and family, sous vide cooking will be your greatest ally. Serve a perfectly medium rare leg of lamb with Sharone Hakman’s Sous Vide Leg of Lamb with Brussel Sprouts. For a more casual occasion, our recipe for Sous Vide Pulled Pork yields astonishingly delicious barbeque that’s never dry or stringy. And of course, you can always create a signature cocktail inspired by our myriad recipes for infusing alcohol in your SousVide Supreme. Whatever the occasion, let your SousVide Supreme create a perfect meal while you entertain your guests with your charming anecdotes.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Share them with us on Twitter or on our Facebook fan page!

Thanksgiving Grocery List

Use this grocery shopping list in conjunction with our Stress-Free Thanksgiving Guide.

Turkey

Ask the butcher to remove the breasts and leg quarters if you’d prefer

Produce

Celery
Fresh Cranberries
Green Beans
Green Bell Peppers
Onions
Orange
Potatoes
Shallot
Sweet Potatoes
Ginger Root, Fresh

Dairy Case

Boursin Cheese
Butter
Eggs
Ready Bake Rolls
Whipping Cream

Pantry/Staples

Black Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Kosher Salt
Cinnammon
Ground Cloves
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Poultry Seasoning
Sugar, granulated and brown
Wondra Quick Mixing Flour or Plain Flour
Ground Corn Meal
Durkee French Fried Onions
Chicken Broth
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Panko Bread Crumbs
Prepared Cranberry Sauce (unless making your own or ours)
Mini Marshmallows

Bakery

Bread/Croutons
Pumpkin Pie


Vacuum Sealing Tips & Tricks

Tips and Tricks for Optimal Sealing of All Foods

  • Allow ample room at the top of the pouch; do not overfill.
  • Position food evenly in the pouch, in a single layer, if possible.
  • If the pouch does not collapse around the food when you press vacuum/seal, press cancel to stop the process, reposition the pouch and/or food within the pouch, and try vacuum sealing again.
  • If the pouch deflates, but the red Seal light does not illuminate, press Seal Only to trigger the sealing process.
  • Store your vac sealer in the unlocked position to prevent compression of the foam sealing ring.

Tips and Tricks for Sealing Moist Foods

  • Watch the pouch as it collapses around the food; when moisture begins to climb the pouch, press Seal Only to trigger the seal before the moisture reaches the chamber.
  • If moisture gets onto the ribbed sealing surface, wipe it dry before storing

For sealing liquids or liquid-rich foods, we recommend using the Archimedes principle with our SousVide Supreme Zip Pouches or for really heavy duty use, a SousVide Supreme Chamber Vacuum (only available in US & Canada).

How to Quick Chill

Quick Chill Video Instruction for Sous Vide Cooked Foods

Prepare meals effortlessly with this simple trick, whether it is for a large crowd or for quick weekday meals. You can cook many servings of food in advance, quick chill them to store safely in refrigerator or freezer, and then reheat them for service on demand.

Watch this video to see how simple it is!

How to Peel an Egg

How to Peel an Egg without Peeling – Must See Video!

Since we are featuring many egg recipes and tips for April, we wanted to also share this most clever way to peel an egg!  Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek and his latest best-selling book The 4-Hour Body, demonstrates this trick – with a nod to our own Dr. Michael Eades.

Quick-Chilling Sous Vide Cooked Foods

The technique of quick-chilling foods cooked in a water bath, such as the SousVide Supreme, really helps to leverage the time of the busy restaurant chef or home cook.  The cook-chill-reheat technique has been a secret of commercial kitchens and caterers for decades, allowing them to prepare batches of food for large crowds of diners ahead of time.  It’ actually quite easy to do, though you do want to be careful, as with all cooking methods, not to allow food to sit for more than an hour or two at temperatures above 40F/4C and below 130F/54C.

Step 1 – Cook multiple pouches for later use.

Fill the SousVide Supreme with vacuum-sealed pouches of foods that will all cook at the same temperature—for instance, if you are planning to cook a batch of Brussels’ sprouts at 182F/83C, throw in a pouch of carrots, a pouch of beets, and a pouch of butternut squash at the same time, since they can all cook at the same temperature nicely.   If you are cooking two chicken breasts at 140F/60C, cook four or even six.   If you are cooking steaks, medium rare at 134F/56C, drop in a pouch of lamb chops and a pouch of pork chops as well.

Step 2 – Quick Chill the extra pouches

When the pouches have finished cooking, pull them from the water bath and submerge them—fully covered—in an ice water bath that is at least one-half ice.  Leave them in the ice water to chill for about an hour.

Step 3 – Store the extra pouches

Once chilled to refrigerator temperature, you can remove the pouches from the ice water, dry them well, label them with the food contained and the date you put them into storage, and either refrigerate the sealed pouches of cooked food for as long as 4 days or freeze the sealed pouches for up to a year.  Note:  If any air has accumulated in the pouch (which can occur with vegetables) you should repackage the food in a new, vacuum-sealable pouch, removing as much air as possible, before storing in the refrigerator or freezer.

Step 4 – Reheat the food

When ready to use the foods, put the sealed pouches (frozen or refrigerated) into a water bath at desired serving temperature for at least 30 minutes (from thawed) or up to one hour (from frozen.)  If reheating multiple foods together in the water bath that were originally cooked at different temperatures, set the SousVide Supreme at the lowest of these various cooking temperatures.  (For instance, if reheating steak cooked at 134F/56C with beets cooked at 182F/83C, set the water bath to 134F/56C so that you will not overcook the meat.) Conversely you can set the SousVideSupreme to 180 to reheat the vegetables, let the meat come to room temperature on the countertop, and reheat the meat with just a sear in the skillet, on the grill or grill pan, or with a kitchen torch.


Sous Vide Turkey: Once you’ve gone sack, you’ll never go back!

There is nothing more the centerpiece of a traditional American holiday meal than roast turkey with all the trimmings.  I recall in my childhood, my grandmother rising at 4 am to begin the preparations for our Thanksgiving or Christmas feast.  Roasting the big bird for these special meals holds an almost sacred place in our family’s traditions and I have dutifully followed the footsteps of my fore bearers every year.  This one being no exception, except that this year we received two birds.  My husband and son played in an annual golf tournament the week before Thanksgiving, called (appropriately enough) the Turkey Shoot, for which participation each of them received a nice turkey.  We were having a larger than usual crowd at our table for Thanksgiving dinner, so I decided to cook both of them.  I would roast one turkey the traditional way and prepare its twin brother in my SousVide Supreme.

It would be a turkey throw down!

Here’s the timeline:

Five days out:  Thawed both birds in the refrigerator.

Two days out:  Made about a gallon of an 8% brine (80 grams salt/liter water or 5 T plus 1 tsp salt per quart of water) to brine one bird whole and the other in pieces by removing both leg quarters (thigh and drumstick) and both breasts.  Made turkey stock from the remaining carcass, herbs, and seasonings.

One day out: Rinsed the birds in clear water.  Refrigerated the whole turkey overnight in a plastic bag. Vacuum-sealed the two leg quarters and two breasts each in a separate food-grade, plastic pouch along with about 1/4 stick of butter (cut lengthwise) and a good sprinkling of poultry seasoning.

blog size

Refrigerated breast portions immediately.

Turkey Breast Sous Vide Ready Blog size

With the SousVide Supreme preheated to 176F/80C I cooked the dark meat portions for 8 to 10 hours, then quick-chilled them in an ice water bath for 1 hour and refrigerated them until the big day.  (Sounds like a lot of time, but it’s almost completely mindless, hands-off time.)

The day before:  I heated the SousVide Supreme to 140F/60C and cooked the breast portions of the turkey for 2- 1/2 hours, then quick-chilled them in an ice water bath for 1 hour and refrigerated them overnight.

Cooked Turkey Breasts Blog Size

While they were chilling, I cranked the SousVide Supreme temp up to 183F/83C and cooked my veggies for an hour:  cauliflower pieces in one pouch with butter, salt and pepper and butternut squash pieces in another pouch with butter, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and just a touch of Splenda 1/2 brown sugar (about 1 tablespoon for 2 squashes, designed to feed 10 people.)  Afterwhich, I pureed the perfectly cooked vegetables, let them cool slightly, and put them into casserole dishes, covered, in the refrigerator. (Sorry, no pictures of these.)

On Turkey Day:  Hours ahead, I pulled the whole bird from the refrigerator, patted him dry, stuffed his cavities with fresh sage and thyme from my herb garden, whole cloves of garlic, and a quartered Maui onion.   I trussed his legs and brushed his breast with melted butter and settled him snugly, breast down, onto the roasting rack and into a 400F/204C oven, which heated up my kitchen mightily.

After 45 minutes, I pulled him out of the oven, turned him on one side, wrapped his wing tips with aluminum foil to prevent their charring, brushed him again with melted butter and returned him to the oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, I pressed one button to turn on the SousVide Supreme to preheat to 140F/60C.

When the timer dinged for the oven, I pulled Tom out again, but by this time, my granddaughter had gotten to the house and in my slight distraction, I managed to burn the side of my hand pulling the roasting pan out of the oven, which doesn’t even really require the distraction of a granddaughter when handling a large bird tipped on its side.

I burned my fingers trying to flip the bird to its other side, when I remembered that my sister had sent me a pair of turkey lifters, which I got out and used.  Now sitting with his other wing in the air, I brushed him all over with butter and returned him to the oven for another 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, the SousVide Supreme has reached its target temperature, so I dropped the four pouches containing the cooked leg quarters and breasts into the rack of the machine to gently reheat before searing..

When the oven timer dinged again, I pulled the roasting bird out of the oven again, turned him breast side up, brushed him again with melted butter, and only burned the side of my hand slightly trying to get him back into the 400F/204C oven for his last 45 to 60 minutes of roasting, while keeping one eye on the progress of the football game going on.

Meanwhile, the vegetable casserole dishes went into the other oven at 375F/190C to warm.

About 15 minutes before the roasting bird was due to come out, I pulled the pouches of turkey from the SousVide Supreme (with just my fingers and no burns at all) and let them cool slightly in the tray lid. Then opened their pouches, pulled the pieces out, and patted them dry on the surface with a paper towel.

When, at last, the glorious roasted bird was cooked to a golden brown perfection–and he was lovely for sure–I brought him out to rest under a tent of foil for 15 to 20 minutes while I attended to last minute duties:  pop the rolls into the oven and brown the sous-vide turkey legs and breasts under the broiler for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Browned Turkey sous vide blog size

Cooked Sliced Turkey Breast blog size

Moist, tender, juicy, flavorful — in short, delicious! Nothing like the dry, slightly stringy breast meat that gives turkey its bad rap.

But back to the throw down.  The comparison of effort and ‘tending’ time stacks up something like this:

Traditional Turkey: 2 slight burns, 3-1/2 hours of closely choreographed trussing, stuffing, tending, flipping, basting, and timing.

SousVide Supreme: 0 burns, maybe 15 minutes of prep and 10 minutes of broiling

Our Thanksgiving guests were treated to comparision platters of traditional roasted turkey and turkey a la SousVide Supreme.  The verdict was unanimous — the sous-vide turkey was the hands down winner!

Here are some of the rave reviews:  The most succulent, flavorful turkey ever…More like delicious ham than turkey, which I’ve never liked much…The white meat was even better than the dark meat! This turkey is so good, I wouldn’t mind having it more often than holidays!  And from a finicky six year old: I’d like more! SousVide Rules!