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I'm an enthusiastic amateur cook who was inspired after visiting the Fat Duck in Bray. Having had some of the best meat I'd ever tasted I endeavoured to try and work out how to emulate Heston at home, and AmazingFoodMadeEasy.com has given me the help I needed to get started. The oven now sits forlornly with all the family proteins going into a SVM controlled waterbath.Ian Hoare "IaninFrance" runs a bed in breakfast in France and was the "most helpful response" winner for his Pork Belly and Foie Gras responses.
My experience with sous vide started in 2004. We managed to get a table in The French Laundry in Yountville, Napa Valley and ate the best meal I've ever eaten anywhere before or since. One of the dishes was described as being cooked sous vide. What I didn't know at the time, however, was that 3 of them were cooked in that way. Fast forward several years to various cookery competitions on TV in one of which we saw one of the chefs cook eggs at a low temperature and amaze Pierre Gagnaire - 3*** Michelin chef in Paris. We also saw a number of other chefs using sous vide low temperature techniques to general acclaim. Fast forward again to 2010, when we went to stay for a couple of night with our ex-clients, become friends and colleagues, Jan & Richard Rogers in La Chouette B&B. He served us an amazing lamb dish which had been cooked at 59?C (138?F) for 9 hours. This was too hard to resist, so I started working out how I could experiment without breaking the bank. Little point in spending hundreds of pounds (or dollars) if you weren't happy with the results. My first two experiments were with this lamb dish, therefore, cooked in a large s/s casserole in my oven, set at 60?C (140?F). I thought they were excellent, if a little fiddly to do. However having my oven out of use for 9 hours didn't suit too well, so I was able to persuade a client to go to Lidl (a Europe wide discount store) and bring me their ?40 "electric jam maker and steriliser". This was a water bath containing nearly 30 litres (7.5 US gallons) with a simple built in thermostatically controlled heater and tap. At the same time I bought myself a simple thermostat for the same price, accurate to 1C? and rigged up the water bath to work through that. I cooked some beef brisket. Wonderful flavour, but too tender (make a note, Baldwin isn't always right). Then came duck confit. Really, really good, much cheaper and better than those I'd been buying. I then tried with chicken breasts and tried out finishing them in different ways. Suddenly I recognised what Thomas Keller had done at The French Laundry with his poularde Excellent again. In the meantime, I'd read that one of the earliest experiments with sous vide was in the great Bocuse's restaurant to cook Foie Gras. Gotta try that. Worked a treat, absolutely brilliant. And so, when I discovered this web site and forum, I saw what people had to say about using a PID controller with the same water bath as mine. So I ordered that and am awaiting it's arrival as I write. And finally, just a couple of days I ago, I tried yet another experiment. Chicken legs, brined for a couple of hours, then seasoned and cooked sous vide 8 hours at 70?C (158?F) These were finished by being briefly fried in a VERY hot frying pan with a little duck fat, making a bit of a sauce from the juices. Really delicious. And the latest experiment, rump steak, broccoli and carrots. We liked the steak, but didn't rave - needs more work in my opinion. Thought the vegetables were rather a waste of time and effort. What next? Pork, corned beef and gammon will do for starters.Bo Schinski "Cruiser" from Washington was one of our random winners. Here's what he had to say about himself:
Sous Vide is ideal for several situations. It shines for chicken because you can hold it in a ready state with no danger of drying out. Chicken Breast Roll-ups sliced into attractive spirals and graced with an imaginative sauce are an entertaining staple at our house. Impressive and easy, even for a crowd. Always greeted with raves. A personal favorite is a big boneless chuck roast vigorously browned beforehand so a first - class gravy can be prepared with the drippings. Then keep it at 135 for 24 hours, slice, sauce and serve. Mmmmmm, that rivals prime rib for me.Bert Vongpaisal "Bert" from Seattle, Washington was our other random winner. Here's his bio:
I'm a software engineer and have been living in the Seattle, WA area for the past 3 years. I enjoy cooking fancy gourmet meals at home a few times a month. I hadn't known about sous vide until last December. Every year before I head home to Canada for the holidays to visit my family, my brother gives me a long list of things to buy from the US so that he can save on shipping costs. Usually this list is an assortment of random gadgets of questionable usefulness. Last Christmas he asked me to bring home a Sous Vide Supreme Demi. He told me that it was small and I'd have no problems bringing it home. Well I bought it for him and when I packed it, it ended up taking up most of the space in my checked luggage! I was a little frustrated as I couldn't really bring much of my own stuff home, especially warm clothing for the cold weather. To make up for it, once I arrived back home in Canada, he made special arrangements to take me to a 12-course dinner at Atelier Restaurant in Ottawa. Many of their dishes incorporated sous vide cooking and I was astonished at how tender and flavorful the meats and veggies were. I was very impressed. Fast forward to about a month ago, I decided to get my own Sous Vide Supreme Demi and I've been immensely enjoying it ever since. Thanks to the awesome community at AmazingFoodMadeEasy.com, I've had a lot of help to get me started and I have successfully made lots of delicious dishes for myself and my fiancee. I've turned her into a sous vide fan as well!Congratulations to all our winners!