Posts Tagged ‘sous vide carrots’

SousVide@Home

June 13, 2010

So, based on this recipe for glazed carrots, I decided to try the veggie side of sous. Then, while fiddling with the crockpot settings, I had second thoughts. The key to VSV is that the pectin in vegetables needs to be heated to above 180F before it will break down. That’s pretty close to a normal simmer of <212F (OK, 30 degrees below, but it’s not broiler-meat difference). It might be that (a) the temp doesn’t matter so much, since it’s not so far off, and (b) the exclusion of the water does matter. That is, this is a real sous-vide issue, and not a low-temp issue.

As I understand it, when you are cooking vegetables there’s two main techniques: submerged in a liquid — water or oil — or submerged in a gas — steam or air. If you boil/simmer them, the water takes much of the flavor. If you fry or braise, you run into the same issues you have with meat — the heat source is much hotter than the desired temperature. If you steam them the juice runs out. If you roast them, the juice evaporates. Cooking in a bag in not-quite-boiling-water would seem to have all of the advantages. It preserves the juices, and it doesn’t overtemp the outside.

Using the crock-pot without the insert, I found it was relatively easy to hold the water temperature between 188 and 192F. Warmer than called for, but easily done. Due to scheduling problems, the carrots spent more like 90min in the water, and even with the air sucked out the bag didn’t want to submerge. Various heavy objects placed on top didn’t help, unless I was rehearsing for a Funniest YouTube skit. Finally, I gave up, and just turned the bag periodically.

These are “baby carrots”, i.e. real carrots what have been cut into smaller carrot-shapes. First taste prior to browning showed them not-soft-but-not-crunchy, and hot all the way through. Need salt (I didn’t use any).

The pork chops are almost ready. Time to go do the final processing on the carrots.

————- munching soundsĀ ————-

The result? Not bad. More liquid than expected — it took 4min to cook off, instead of 2. Not enough sugar, so that it wasn’t really glazed. Worth trying again, but not the source of true carroty goodness. I’d give it three stars, out of a possible four. It really needed salt.