Friday, October 28, 2011

Coq-Au-Vin with Parsnip Cream



I was planning for a dinner for 8 and found this sous vide recipe from The British Larder.

The flavours are unbelievably intense.  After 8 hours in the sous vide machine, the meat becomes very tender, melt in the mouth, with a incredible amount of flavour.

This recipe might seem to be fairly complicated but worth trying and I will definitely be cooking this again.

Ingredients (This is for serving size of 2)
2 chicken legs
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of each rosemary and thyme
30ml olive oil
10 crushed coriander seeds
100ml red wine
10ml balsamic vinegar
40g grated shallot
course sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

The ingredients
Preheat Sous Vide Supreme to 82°C.

Use a clean vacuum pack bag and make sure you wear clean disposable gloves.

Wash the chicken legs and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Rub salt and fresh cracked black pepper into the chicken legs and place the legs in the bag. Add the rest of the ingredients and seal the bags on a hard vacuum.

Place the bags in the water bath and cook for 8 hours. Once cooked, cool them in ice water.

After 8 hours in the water bath...


Parsnip Cream
400g parsnips, peeled and cut in very small pieces
20g butter
20g double cream
50g full fat milk
pinch of caster sugar
salt

Place the peeled and cut parsnips in a clean vacuum bag with the butter, sugar and salt.

Hard vacuum and cook the parsnips at 82°C for 25 minutes.

My first time cooking parsnips. Shaped like carrots but much sweeter...



Press the parsnips and if they are soft they are done but if they are still slightly firm, cook them for longer. It’s important that the parsnips arevery soft.



Once the parsnips are cooked place them in a blender and puree for 1 minute or until mashed.

Scrape the sides down, add the cream and milk and puree for another minute. Cool the puree until needed.

To Complete The Dish
6 small round onions
60g unsalted butter
100g smoked pancetta lardons (I used bacon)
6 small chestnut mushrooms (Or any mushroom you can find)


Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Place the small round onions on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes in their skins.

Once they are soft, pop the cooked onions out of their skins. Heat a small frying pan and sauté the onions with the pancetta lardons and mushrooms( cut in half )until golden brown with 20g of the butter.

Remove the chicken legs from the vacuum bag and pour the sauce through a sieve into a small saucepan. Place the chicken legs on a roasting tray in a preheated oven for 20 minutes to heat through. Place them under the grill for a further 3 – 4 minutes to crisp the skin.

While the chicken is in the oven heat the parsnip cream in a small saucepan, if the puree is too thick let it down with milk.

Bring the sauce to the boil, cook for 5 minutes monte the remaining 40g of cold butter in the sauce.

Spoon the Parsnip Cream on to the plate, arrange the chicken and the rest of the ingredients and finish the dish with a spoon of the sauce and a sprinkle of the flat leaf parsley.

Yummy Coq-au-vin!









Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mirin Sake Belly with Sous Vide Egg



It might sound insane but one of the reasons I bought the Sous Vide Supreme machine was because of the love for the perfect eggs. Yes, I mean the slow-cooked eggs at 64 degree celsius (Some say 63) for 45-60 minutes. I could still remember the heavenly feeling I had the first time I ordered this in one of the fine dining restaurant couple of years back - the whites were like a soft, delicate custard, while the yolk was thick, rich, and gooey.

Read this if you are interested in the science behind that perfect cooked eggs.

No surprise that the first test I carried out on the Sous Vide Supreme was the 64 degree eggs. (Refer to my previous post). Satisfied with the result of the sous vide eggs, I explored the web for an interesting side dish to serve with it and I found this Mirin and Sake pork belly recipe.

Alan, Eeleen and Richard became my guinea pigs last Friday. They were all lost for words, it made me smile as that was the ultimate praise a chef could ask for. I urge you to try this recipe, it's simple and yet rewarding. Even if you do not have the sous vide machine, you can just make the belly - A versatile and interesting starter for any parties that you are hosting.


Ingredients
1kg pork belly chunk, without skin
soy sauce
1 cup mirin
1 cup sake
3 cloves garlic
water

Recipe
  • In a heavy pot or dutch oven, sear the pork belly on all sides
  • Add the sake, mirin, 1 clove of garlic and enough water to barely submerge the pork belly.
  • Add Soy sauce to taste, remember as the braising liquid reduces, it becomes saltier.
  • Braise the pork belly for 2 hours or until tender.
  • Remove the pork belly and let it cool
  • Place pot in the fridge for overnight
  • Remove the pork belly and slice it while it is still cold.
  • Place the sliced pork belly back into the pot and simmer on very low heat until ready to serv1e
  • When ready to serve, remove the sliced pork belly and pat dry with some paper towel
  • Season with a little sea salt
  • In a hot pan, sear the sliced pork belly for a few seconds on each side for a crunchy texture and nice caramelized color.



    Get a good thick piece of belly with even layers of fats and meat. Request the butcher to remove the skin.

    Brown the belly on all sides.

    Add the remaining ingredients and water to barely submerge the belly. Cook over small fire for 2 hours.

    Slice of belly served with the perfect sous vide egg.



    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Sous Vide Cooking - My First Experience



    The sous vide cooking method has gained popularity over the years and nowadays it is very common to find sous vide dishes on any fine dining menu. If you have not heard about it before, sous vide is French for “under vacuum” and describes a method of cooking in vacuum sealed plastic pouches at precisely controlled temperatures.

    Having tasted and read much on sous vide cooking, I was really interested to try out the cooking method at home. Visited Sia Huat main office and TOTT couple of times, I finally brought home the Sous Vide Supreme machine along with the Diva vacuum sealer last week.

    First experiment with the new gadget was sous vide Tenderloin steak at 59 degree celsius for 6 hours and the sous vide egg at 64 degree celsius for an hour.




    Marinate the steak with sea salt, black pepper corn, rosemary, thyme and garlic

    Vacuum seal the meat with the herbs and slow cook them in the Sous Vide Supreme. Temperature based on your preference for the degree of doneness: Rare - 49C, Medium rare - 56.5C, Medium - 60C, Medium Well - 65.5 C

    After 6 hours in the sous vide supreme, sear the cooked meat on a very hot pan for 30-45 seconds each side to create the caramelized effect on the outer layer

    I had tried 60 degree celsius for a medium doneness as shown here (but preferred the medium rare version at 56.5 C that I tried the next day without picture)

    The sous vide egg experiment - My kids simply love this! 
    I will be experimenting sous vide cooking a whole lot more in the next few weeks and months. Stay tuned!
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