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Cooking that old hen sous vide?  RSS feed

 
Amedean Messan
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Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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Recently got the "Modernist Cuisine" (link below) cookbook and they discuss modern methods for cooking such as the sous vide (under vacuum) method. Because this method cooks at very low temperatures well below boiling at 1 atm (101.3 kPa) the connective tissue and proteins do not bind so old chickens retain both the rich flavor but also surpass the tenderness of broilers we have gotten accustomed to. I just though it was interesting enough to share with you guys .

http://www.amazon.com/Modernist-Cuisine-Art-Science-Cooking/dp/0982761007/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348657274&sr=1-1&keywords=modernist+cuisine

 
Victor Johanson
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Been meaning to try that, although the whole plastic thing is a turn off. Our old dual-purpose breeds range around, and they're tough, even when young. For a long time we only used them in soups or stews, but we learned that steaming them for a couple hours first works great to tenderize them before roasting, frying, or broiling.
 
Amedean Messan
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I agree with the plastic being a complete turn off. I tried to think of another means of producing a vacuum, but there is a benefit to the direct contact to water provided by the wrapper. This might be a future experiment for me but if you got any ideas on a potential replacement I would like to know.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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I use an old fashioned black enamel roasting pan. Put a rack in the bottom or line the bottom with onions. Put bird on top with whatever seasonings and or vegetables you want to cook with it. Fill with barely one inch of liquid (water, broth, wine).

Cover with roasting pan lid and cook for four hours at 250F.

The key is to not open the pan - not even one time - to look at the bird. No basting, no peeking.

Sometimes I put one in the oven and set the timer for four hours and then the oven goes off by itself. It doesn't matter that the birds stays in a couple more hours.

This meat will fall apart. I do it with chicken, turkey, rabbit, and they are all fall apart tender -- but you can't peek or it won't work.
 
Alison Thomas
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Jeanine Gurley wrote:- but you can't peek or it won't work.


I'm smiling here Jeanine - have you ever had a peek and it wrecked the process? But actually I do the same - I even have a roaster dish that you can turn over so that the basting happens without opening the pan. This closed roaster with liquid in is actually is a similar process I guess to Victor's steaming and even the 'sous vide' as the micro-climate in the pan would be akin to a vacuum - guess that's why it doesn't work if you break that seal.

The French 'sous vide' everything
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Yes, my husband didn't believe me - husbands usually don't believe their wives - and the bird he cooked was tough. Mine are never tough. He finally admitted that he did peek but "just once" he said.
 
Victor Johanson
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Sous vide is based on an accidental slow cooking discovery by Count Rumford in 1799, which didn't involve vacuum (or plastic, naturally). His account is here:

http://blog.medellitin.com/2010/08/sous-vide-historical-note-count-rumford.html
 
Burra Maluca
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I use a slow-cooker (crockpot) - even my old birds come out tender and falling off the bone done in one of those. I especially like that during the winter I can pick up the whole slow cooker and bring it into the living room, so it doubles up as a heater. Also, they still come out tender even if you peek once or twice...
 
Darren Collins
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I've used a slow-cooker as well, with good results.

We just got a pressure cooker for Christmas - has anyone tried this with an older bird? I've heard that it can give similar tender results to a slow cooker, but in less time. Yet to try it out (I'm looking at you, old drake!).
 
John Polk
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An old trick I have learned about old birds is that if you cannot cook them within 30 minutes of slaughter, DON'T.
Instead, either brine or marinate them in the refrigerator for about 2 days. This offsets the effects of rigor mortis.

A quote from Wikipedia:
Rigor mortis is very important in meat technology. The onset of rigor mortis and its resolution partially determines
the tenderness of meat. If the postslaughter meat is immediately chilled to 15°C (59°F), a phenomenon known as cold
shortening occurs, where the muscle sarcomeres shrink to a third of their original length.


For roasting, another trick I use is to get several small lemons, and pierce them repeatedly with a fork.
Stuff the lemons in the cavity before roasting.
As the bird heats up, the lemons begin steaming inside the chicken. Never a dried out, tired bird.
 
Robert Ray
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I also use the lemons in the body method, oranges and apples too.
 
We don't have time for this. We've gotta save the moon! Or check this out:
Video of all the PDC and ATC (~177 hours) - HD instant view
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