“Gumbo is a veritable art form in Louisiana. There are as many gumbo recipes as there are cooks.” Stir the Pot: The History of Cajun Cuisine, p. 135
Of all the dishes in the realm of Louisiana cooking, gumbo is the most famous and likely the most popular. Although ingredients vary from one cook to the next, and from one part of the state to another, a steaming, fragrant bowl of gumbo is one of life’s cherished pleasures – as emblematic of Louisiana as chili is of Texas (Adapted from A Short History of Gumbo by Stanley Dry).
There are many different recipes for gumbo, but it can essentially be described as a thick, well-seasoned stew with different combinations of meat or seafood. Roux (a thickening agent for soups and sauces) is a must, and most varieties of gumbo include onions, bell pepper, celery, and parsley.
This recipe is a classic Gumbo Ya Ya with chicken and sausage. And although it isn’t a traditional ingredient in Gumbo Ya Ya, I like to add crawfish (a.k.a. crawdads)for an extra flavor boost. What makes this recipe unique is that nearly every step is executed using CVap equipment.
First we knocked out the rice (3 pounds long grain par-boiled + 3 ¾ quarts of water) by cooking it in a CVap Thermalizer on channel 6 (200 + 150) for one hour. The cooked rice was then held in a CVap Cook & Hold Oven at 150 + 0 until we were ready to serve.
We cooked a dozen bone-in chicken thighs in a CVap Cook & Hold Oven at 170 + 0 for 45 minutes to an hour. The bones were removed for the overnight stock, then we shredded the chicken meat and set it aside.
For the overnight stock, we combined the chicken thigh bones, celery, carrots, onion, fresh thyme, bay leaves, and whole black peppercorns in a stock pot and added water until everything was just covered. The stock was cooked overnight in a CVap Cook/Hold Oven at 180 + 0, strained in the morning, and then refrigerated. Then all we had to do was skim before adding it to the gumbo.
Recipe: Gumbo Ya Ya
- 4 onions, diced
- 4 green bell peppers, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, small dice
- 10 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 pounds andouille sausage, sliced
- 2 pounds chicken, shredded
- 2 pounds crawfish tails (optional)
- 5-10 bay leaves
- 4-5 thyme sprigs
- 1 gallon chicken stock
- 3 cups vegetable oil
- 5 cups flour
- ¾ cup green onion, chopped
- Sauté the onion, celery, and bell pepper, add garlic, and then remove from heat.
- Roux is one of the basic ingredients to a great soup or sauce. At the risk of boring the more seasoned cooks among you, I’ve included instructions for preparing a roux.
- Roux is made from equal parts fat and flour. In this case, vegetable oil and flour. Warm oil over medium-low heat, then add the flour.
- Stir constantly in a figure-eight pattern to evenly distribute. Watch the roux closely to prevent burning.
- Cook the roux over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it becomes a dark caramel color (see picture). Remember that roux must be watched carefully – you don’t want to have to start over!
- Mix all ingredients together (using only half of the roux) and add 3 quarts of stock, sausage, crawfish (optional), and chicken. Stir and place in a CVap Cook & Hold oven at 200 + 3. Stir every 45 minutes or so. Check the thickness – if it needs to thicken more, add more roux. If it is too thick, add more chicken stock. After 2-3 hours, stir in the chopped green onion. Serve over hot rice.
Try this heartwarming dish for yourself and Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Whenever the weather starts turning cool, my thoughts turn to soups, stews, and broths. There is nothing better to take the chill off your bones than a piping hot bowl of soup. I am often asked if CVap can be used to make a good stock or broth, and the answer is a resounding yes! Over the years I’ve made great beef, pork, and poultry stocks. I’ve made Tonkotsu ramen broth out of mountain ham bones. One of my favorite broth-based dishes to make and eat is Pho. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese noodle dish with fragrant and aromatic broth. No matter which broth is your favorite, the basic method detailed in this recipe creates a beautiful result. No worries about scorching with CVap – just enjoy this wonderfully fragrant, aromatic broth!
Recipe yields 10 servings
- 4 kilograms assorted beef, pork neck and poultry back bones
(charred bones in CVap cook & hold 150°F food temp 10, level browning for 2 hours)
- 4 onions
- 6 carrots (rough cut into large pieces)
- 7 stalks of celery (rough cut into large pieces)
- 6 pods star anise
- 85 grams of sliced fresh ginger
- 45 grams garlic cloves (smashed)
- 21 grams kosher salt
- 32 grams fish sauce (I prefer Red Boat fish sauce 40N )
- 10 liters of cold water
- 3 (8oz.) packages dried noodles
- 1.5 kg top sirloin (thinly sliced)
- 2 bunches of cilantro (stemmed and roughly chopped)
- 2 bunches of scallions (roughly chopped)
- 3 cups bean sprouts
- 2 bunches Thai basil
- Limes, cut into 4 wedges
- Bourbon Barrel Soy to taste
- Chef Edward Lees Sambal Hot Sauce to taste
- Preheat CVap cook & hold oven to 150°F food temperature and 10 level browning.
- Place bones in 6” deep full-size hotel pan and roast in the preheated oven until browned, about 2 hours.
- Place onion on char broiler and grill until blackened and soft, about 15 minutes.
- Add charred onion, carrots, celery, ginger, garlic, salt, star anise, and fish sauce in the pan with roasted bones and cover with 8 liters of cold water. Place pan in CVap oven set to 190°F food temperature and browning level 3. Simmer for minimum of 12 hours. Strain the broth into a clean hotel pan and place back into CVap unit until you are ready to serve.
- Place rice noodles in large bowl filled with room temperature water and allow to soak for 1 hour. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and after the noodles have soaked, place them in the boiling water for one minute.
- Divide noodles among 10 serving bowls; top with sirloin, cilantro, and scallions. Pour hot broth over the top. Stir and let sit until the beef is partially cooked and no longer pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime wedges, BBF soy sauce, and Ed Lee Chile-Garlic sauce on the side.
Life is busy. That fact is as true for us here at Winston as it is for anyone. Taking the time to have a good breakfast is a rarity, I suspect, for most of us.
What if you could easily provide your customers with just such a respite, without a big investment in time, ingredients, or manpower? Staging with your CVap Cook & Hold oven makes this possible.
One of my favorite breakfasts (both to prepare and to eat) is Eggs Benedict. It’s a simple recipe, and can easily be prepared and staged in a CVap oven. It requires a simple handful of ingredients, and only takes minutes to make. It’ll make your customers want to slow down – at least for a moment – to savor the fantastic flavors.
The recipe, as listed, is for a relatively small batch. But it can easily be scaled up to fit larger operations.
- 1 dozen biscuits (canned or frozen)
- 1 dozen eggs,
- shredded cheddar cheese
- melted butter
- salt and pepper
Set a CVap Cook & Hold Oven to Constant Cook ON, Food Temperature 150°F (Doneness) and Food Texture 10 (Browning), then allow to preheat. Place biscuits on parchment-lined half sheet pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove biscuits from oven, brush with melted butter, then use a pastry cutter to remove the centers (be careful to leave bottom crust intact!). Place a raw egg and a pinch of salt and pepper in the center of each biscuit.
Adjust preheated Cook & Hold Oven to Constant Cook ON, Food Temperature 156°F (Doneness), and Food Texture setting 1 (Browning). Place the egg-filled biscuits in the oven for 25 minutes.
Once the eggs are poached to your liking, remove the biscuits, sprinkle with cheese, and place the pan back into the oven just long enough for the cheese to melt. The beauty of CVap staging is that you can pause at virtually any point in the cooking process, and the food will remain unchanged until you’re ready to garnish and serve – whether that’s in 10 minutes or five hours.
We garnished ours with shaved Woodlands Pork Mountain ham, parmesan cream sauce, minced scallions, and paprika. You may want to use bacon, prosciutto, sausage patties – whatever savory protein appeals to you – to make it your own benedict.
September 15 marks the beginning of National Hispanic History Month. This 30-day observation celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Enjoying the flavors and culinary influences of this diverse group is a great way to celebrate. This CVap-style tamale recipe, made with slow-cooked pork butt, is a fantastic example of Hispanic cuisine.
Recipe: Pork Tamales, CVap Style
- Pork Butt, 7 to 14 lb Whole
- Tex-Mex Dry Rub of your choice (we used Chef Barry Yates’ secret blend)
- Tamale Sauce of your choice
- Masa, cooked per label instructions
- Corn Husks
Prepare masa and set aside.
Soak corn husks in warm water, set aside.
Apply a layer of dry rub to pork butts as desired.
Preheat a CVap Cook & Hold Oven to 180 + 7 with Constant Cook OFF (high yield). Cook with fat cap up for 7:00 hours.
Hold for a minimum of 6 hours at 150 + 0. (We held for 14 hrs.)
Allow pork to cool and then shred it.
Mix enough tamale sauce into the pork to wet it. You may add additional seasoning (cumin, red pepper) as desired.
Lay out a corn husk, apply a generous spoonful of masa and a spoonful of pork.
Fold the corn husk to envelope the mixture.
Place in pan. You can stack the tamales.
Pour tamale sauce over the top and bake.
Serve immediately with additional tamale sauce and enjoy with a cool beverage!
Saturday, September 2 is one of the most important days of the year – International Bacon Day! What’s not to love about bacon? It is true that there are a few folks who don’t like bacon, but do you really trust them?
Sure, there are easy ways to enjoy this savory treat; BLTs, crumbled into salad, or with a couple of sunny side eggs. But why not try something that kicks it up a notch? What could be better that Bacon-Wrapped Breadsticks?
- Bacon – 1 lb. (or about 24 strips)
- Refrigerated breadstick dough (2-tubes, 11 oz. each)
- Parmesan Cheese – 1 cup (grated)
- Garlic Powder – 2 tsp
- Butter -1/2 cup (melted)
If you prefer, frozen yeast rolls may be substituted for breadstick dough. Allow frozen dough to thaw, and follow same directions as for breadstick dough.
Roll each section of dough into thick strings. Bring both end of the strings together. Place a strip of bacon on the doubled string and gently twist, making sure the bacon wraps around the strings of dough.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place each twisted piece onto the sheet, allowing space around each piece.
Preheat a CVap thermalizer oven on channel 4.
Place breadsticks into oven. Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
While the breadsticks are baking, combine cheese and garlic powder in a shallow bowl. Melt butter in a separate bowl.
Remove breadsticks from oven. Brush with melted butter.
Roll warm breadsticks in cheese mixture.
Plate and serve.
Yield will be two dozen. Your bacon breadsticks will be salty and savory, with just the right about of chewiness, and the added kick of bacon. Enjoy!
Creamy, velvety, decadent, smooth…there are so many delicious words to describe custards! But anyone who works with eggs or custards knows they are delicate and require precision handling. Even with the right skill set, it can be hard to get the same results every time with the limitations of traditional equipment. Not anymore! I have a few recipes that will give you perfect results, time after time. The way CVap treats a custard is just awesome.
Today I’m sharing my favorite Crème Brûlée recipe; one is prepared in a CVap Cook/Hold Oven and the other in a CVap Thermalizer Oven – ENJOY! I’ll post my favorite cheesecake recipe soon, so be sure to check back. If you have a favorite custard recipe that you’d like for us to try in a CVap, please share it.
Crème Brûlée Baked in a CVap Cook/Hold Oven
- Preset Cook/Hold to 200 + 0 and allow approximately 30 minutes to preheat.
- Set timer to 45 minutes.
- Beat 6 egg yolks, 4 tablespoons sugar, and ½ tsp of vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until thick and creamy.
- Pour 2 ½ cups of heavy cream into a saucepan and stir over low heat until it almost comes to a boil. Remove the cream from heat immediately. Stir cream into the egg yolk mixture; beat until combined.
- Pour into a shallow, heat-proof ramekin.
- Place in Cook/Hold and press start. After time is up, remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle sugar on top of the custard, and caramelize with a chef’s torch.
Crème Brûlée Baked in a CVap Thermalizer
- Preset Thermalizer channel 1, place a full sheet pan on the top rack and allow approximately 30 minutes to preheat.
- Set timer to 30 minutes.
- Beat 6 egg yolks, 4 tablespoons sugar and ½ tsp of vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until thick and creamy.
- Pour 2 ½ cups of heavy cream into a saucepan and stir over low heat until it almost comes to a boil. Remove the cream from heat immediately. Stir cream into the egg yolk mixture; beat until combined.
- Pour into a shallow, heat-proof ramekin.
- Place in Thermalizer and press start. After time is up, remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle sugar on top of the custard, and caramelize with a chef’s torch.
There are 100 ways to cook an egg, and whether they are center of the plate or part of a cake or custard, there are so many ways to serve them.
Every pitmaster worth his or her salt knows that producing a proper brisket is something to be proud of. Between the fatty and the lean parts, there are special challenges. Smoke or cook it too long and the lean portion will dry out; but not long enough and the fat will be undercooked and not rendered enough. Allow the temperature to get too high and the brisket will be bone dry. That’s why low and slow does the trick, and CVap makes a perfect partner for brisket. You want a robust bark, a consistent smoke ring, and tender, juicy meat. No problem, right?
CVap Beef Brisket
We marinated a 3.5 lb. beef brisket in a mixture of Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce and Worcestershire, and then liberally applied a seasoning rub.
The brisket was smoked at 200°F for about 2.5 hours, and then it went into a CVap Cook/Hold Oven set at Constant Cook ON /135°F / Browning Level 2 / for ten hours.
As you can see, the bark is set, the smoke ring is consistent, and the meat is definitely juicy! Our final yield was about 85%.
As an alternative, you could omit the smoking step and cook the brisket in the CVap overnight at the same setting to come up with this result. Again, it is juicy, tender, and very evenly done.
Please note this setting produces a brisket ideally suited for slicing. If you want a shreddable brisket, set your CVap Cook/Hold Oven to 170 + 2 and cook it overnight. Your yield will be slightly less, but it will shred beautifully.
For the perfect BBQ feast, serve your classic smoked brisket, slice it, slather it with your favorite sauce, and serve it with cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans, sweet onions, dill pickles, and sliced white bread. Oh – and plenty of napkins or paper towels!
Looking for some alternative serving ideas for brisket? Whether you smoke your brisket or not, any of these suggestions will showcase this inexpensive cut of beef very nicely:
Creative Brisket Serving Suggestions
- Chop your brisket and use it as a topping on BBQ pizza
- Make brisket tacos with cabbage, crema, and fresh avocado
- Serve brisket hash as a breakfast or brunch item
- Fill ravioli with a brisket mixture and serve with a sauce made with dark beer and caramelized onions
- Create a smoky BBQ-style brisket cottage pie topped with mashed potatoes
- Add chopped brisket to your chili for a delicious departure from ground beef
- Give your vegetable beef soup a different dimension by using sliced or chopped brisket
Memorial Day is upon us. It’s a time to reflect on the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. It’s also the official start of the summer season. Think summer foods, and the first thing that comes to mind is burgers. Here’s a delicious twist on burgers – made better with CVap (of course).
Not only does Memorial Day begin summer, it also immediately precedes June – a.k.a. National Turkey Lovers’ Month. So what does that mean? That’s right – turkey burgers! But not just any turkey burgers – these burgers started with CVap Staging.
First a question: do any of you get frustrated when someone describes turkey burgers as being dry, flavorless, or dull? With the abundance of techniques we have at our disposal, and the enormous variety of flavor combinations to choose from, there’s just no excuse for it! And of course we love turkey as a starring protein because it is a lean, versatile option.
For this post, we experimented with two different approaches, though our base mixture was the same for both. We combined ½ lb. of ground turkey with two beaten eggs, ¼ cup of Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce, ½ of an onion (minced), One minced garlic clove, and one cup of Panko bread crumbs. Once the mixture was gently combined, we formed 3-ounce patties and put some on a parchment-lined half-size sheet pan.
We took the other half, placed them in pouches for vacuum-sealing, and then added a little smoke for an extra dimension of flavor. It was just enough to give the burgers a subtle smokiness without it being overwhelming.
All of the patties then went into a CVap Cook/Hold Oven with Constant Cook ON, a Food Temperature (Doneness) setting of 145°F and a Food Texture (Browning) setting of 0, for 30 minutes.
To finish the patties, we pan seared them for texture and brought them to a finished temperature of 150° to 155°F (though tossing them on a grill for quick finish would work equally well). CVap Staging and then finishing in this manner yielded extremely well-textured, moist, and flavorful burgers.
The patties that were vacuum-sealed wound up being the perfect size and shape for the toasted ciabatta rolls we were using. We dressed those simply, with fresh torn cilantro and a chipotle salsa (fresh pico mixed with pureed chipotle peppers) that complimented the slight hint of smoke in the patty.
After pan-searing the more traditional patties, we treated a ciabatta bun to Sriracha mayonnaise on one side and an explosively delicious mixture of pureed onion, Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce, and minced ginger and garlic on the other side. We finished it off with a mixture of tender baby lettuce and torn, fresh cilantro.
While the first, Latin-inspired burger was extremely tasty, the Asian-influenced burger was off-the-charts delicious. We can’t wait to make it again!
So what exactly is CVap Staging? Using this process, food is brought to the exact internal temperature desired and then held there – without overcooking or drying out – until it is time to finish and serve the dish. This means that the final flavor-enhancing and texturing touches can be made just moments before the food is served. Imagine how much faster you could push plates out of a kitchen!
For more information about the complete line of CVap products, please visit our website at winstonfoodservice.com .
Winston Foodservice celebrates the Farm to Table movement. We wanted to share one of our recipes that takes full advantage of locally-available ingredients. The texture of these tartlets were so creamy and silky! What mother wouldn’t want to be treated to this delicious treat?
Savory Basil Goat Cheese Tartlet with Heirloom Tomato and Honey Salsa
- ¾ cup Toasted Panko
- ¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 2 Tbsp Melted Butter
Mix all ingredients together, place small amount in bottom of mini muffin pan, and press firmly.
- 33 oz. Capriole Goat Cheese
- 3 Whole Eggs
- 1 Egg White
- ¼ cup Whole Milk
- 1 TBSP Basil Pesto
Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl, until smooth. Pour into each mini muffin pan until ¾ full.
Place in CVap set to 200 + 0 for 5-7 minutes. Remove and cool. Serve warm in CVap set to 130 + 0.
Heirloom Tomato Salsa:
- 4 Heirloom Tomatoes (diced)
- 2 Tbsp Honey
- 1 Tbsp Red Sweet Thai Chili Paste
- 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Stir ingredients together, bring to boil, and cool.
Place a spoonful of salsa onto goat cheese tartlet prior to service.
I love food! And I mean all types of food. My absolute favorite style of cuisine is Hispanic – more specifically, Mexican, with its wealth of tradition and depth of flavors. What’s not to like? This year Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby fall back-t0-back on May 5 and 6. Celebrate both with a delicious Mexican recipe.
I have a group of friends I meet every Sunday at our local South of the Border establishment for lunch and a margarita or three (If I’m being honest, the food is decent, but the margaritas are the real draw!). I decided to mix it up and order one of my favorite traditional Mexican dishes: carnitas. They were less than spectacular, and I asked my friend Sergio why he thought they weren’t very good. He replied that too many people really only want fajitas on the hot plate, and this restaurant’s preparation just wasn’t traditional. To be fair, one look around the room proved that he was right. It looked like a sauna with the steam rising from every table. I was a victim of demand.
I wasn’t about to settle for this disappointment, however. Carnitas are a staple of Mexican cuisine and I mean, c’mon, it’s pork! I decided to take matters into my own hands. There are many ways to prepare carnitas, but traditionally it is shoulder meat (or leftover parts of a butchered hog) slow braised for several hours in pork lard confit style. Once the pork has been broken down enough, it is taken out and either pulled apart or cut into cubes. It then goes back into the lard with the heat turned up, and is fried to add texture. There are many twists and variations of this dish, and the part of the country you are in usually defines what ingredients and flavors your carnitas might have. For this recipe, I’m combining the old with the new and adding a splash of CVap®.
- 2 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 2 small bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ orange
- ½ lime
- ½ medium onion
- ½ Mexican beer, preferably dark
- Fresh cilantro
- 2 lbs. lard or cooking oil
In a large vacuum or re-sealable bag, combine all ingredients.
Place bag in CVap Cook/Hold oven at the settings below. Drink the other half of your Mexican beer!
CVap Cook/Hold settings
High Yield Mode: OFF
Time: 8 hours
When the timer goes off, pull the bag out of the CVap oven and separate the pork cubes from the other ingredients.
Heat lard or oil in a fryer or large pot on the stove to 350°F (or medium-high heat). Carefully drop the cubes into the oil and let fry until golden brown, about one minute.
Now comes the tricky part: eat the carnitas! I usually enjoy them over a bed of rice and beans, with a little salsa on top. I also like them in a corn tortilla with diced onions, cilantro, and freshly squeezed lime. Then again, sometimes I just eat them right out of the pot because it’s fried pork and I’m impatient. There is no right or wrong here, just enjoy!
If you’re not using your CVap® oven overnight – why not? You can be productive 24 hours a day with CVap.
Inserra Shop Rite Supermarkets, one of my valued customers, uses CVap Cook/Hold ovens in three of their locations. Executive Chef Paulie Velletutti takes full advantage of their stacked pair of CVap Cook/Holds, producing a variety of dishes for their prepared foods section. He also roasts deli meats in the CVap, increasing yield and maximizing profits (who doesn’t want versatility and extra profit?).
A great example of Chef Velletutti’s creativity is an amazing Porchetta using two bellies and a pork loin. This produces a succulent, appealing Porchetta that flies off the shelves – and most of the work is done overnight! This recipe was prepared at their Wallington, New Jersey store.
Prepare your Porchetta as normal with your favorite herb/spice rub. Tie it up and put it in the CVap Cook & Hold Oven. Set the oven to a Doneness setting of 144, and a Browning level of 2. Set the timer for 15 hours. Walk away and let the CVap do its thing.
The next morning the Porchetta will be perfectly cooked. It only needs a little finishing to perfect it. A nice texture and a beautiful browning are achieved by finishing in a convection oven at 475 F degrees for 12 minutes. Blast chill it, and slice it up.
One of the best things about CVap is having the ability to use it to handle precision cooking of center of the plate (COP) items without monitoring – or even having to check on it. For this blog post I got some beautiful Berkshire pork chops from Fossil Farms. I brined them in a 5% salt solution with honey and fresh thyme for two hours. What I wanted to accomplish was to have the pork chops done and ready for plating later in the day. I set up my CVap Cook/Hold to Doneness 145°F and Browning of 0. Once the CVap came to temperature and the display read “LOAD” I seared the chops and placed them on a rack inside a hotel pan.
The internal temperature of the chops at that point after searing was 85° F.
Once all the chops were seared and in the pan, off to the CVap they went.
With the CVap set to 145°F, all I had to do was wait for the moisture inside the chops to equalize with the moisture in the water pan. The Browning was set to 0 so the air temperature was 145° as well. Basically, I was using a sous-vide method without putting the chops into a bag. A few hours later I made starch and a vegetable to go along with it. When the pan was pulled out of the CVap all the chops were at precisely 145°F.
They were of varying thicknesses and weights, but all of the moisture inside the chops equalized to the temperature of the water inside the CVap. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the ability to do this with a large banquet where the party was delayed for some reason or another? When you use CVap to make your proteins this is a no-brainer.
Everyone’s fried chicken is the best! Or everyone has a grandmother that made the best fried chicken. I get it, I really do! Everyone has their own techniques, tricks, and superstitions when it comes to making their “famous fried chicken.” Well, my fried chicken is never the same. I do not prefer one technique over another. I am a fan of all styles. I don’t care if its buttermilk fried, Korean fried, or country fried – as long as it’s delicious and crave-able! Below, I have a recipe for a damn good piece of fried chicken. And at the end of the day, I really think that is paramount!
What makes this particular recipe great, besides that it tastes so good, is the fact that it is less greasy and can be prepared, mostly, ahead of time. CVap is the KEY to all of this. What I have done is reduced the fry time from 12-ish minutes down to 3-ish minutes, resulting in a super moist, less greasy, and crave-able fried chicken. A quick tip: the less time the chicken is in the oil, the less grease the breading will absorb!
CVap Chicken Process
The day I prepared this, I wanted something with Asian flavors. So that’s where my approach came from. Let’s get into the details of the process!
Salt – 1 tablespoon
Sugar – 1 tablespoon
Water – 2 cups
Lemongrass, chopped and pounded – 2 stalks
Star anise, toasted – 4 each
Soy sauce – ¼ cup
Black peppercorns – 1 teaspoon
Ginger, fresh – 1 small knob
Lime juice – 1 tablespoon
Jalapeno, halved – 2 each
Place all the ingredients for the brine in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, place a lid on the pot and turn off the heat. Cool to room temperature. Strain and cool in refrigerator until it goes below 40F. Heat the CVap Cook and Hold to 155 F + 0F, Constant Cook On, time of 3 hours.
I prefer thighs and legs of the chicken for my fried chicken so that is what I used. In two freezer bags, I placed six pieces of chicken in each bag and split the brine between the bags. When closing the bags, try and remove as much of the air as possible to ensure that the chicken is making contact with the brine as much as possible. Once your CVap is to temp, load the chicken and press Start. Tip: For older chickens or larger cuts of chicken, increase the cook time to 4 or 5 hours. This will help breakdown the connective tissues and make it much more tender.
As the chicken is cooking, prepare the breading. There is a wet and dry step. For the wet I mixed equal parts buttermilk and coconut milk. The flour, I used bread flour because there is higher protein in bread flour. Higher protein makes for a better crunch!
Buttermilk – 1 cup
Coconut milk – 1 cup
Bread flour – 1 ½ cup
Onion powder – 2 teaspoons
Garlic powder – 1 teaspoon
Salt – 1 teaspoon
When the chicken is close to being done, prepare your pot of oil. You will want to use peanut oil because we will be frying 390F to 400F for this round. Tip: Cover your stove with foil to make cleanup much easier!
Once the chicken is done and you have the oil heating, remove the chicken from the bag and pat it dry with paper towels. When your oil comes to temp, turn down the heat to maintain that temperature and start the breading process. Dip the chicken in the wet mixture first and move to the flour mixture and back to the wet and back to the flour. That’s how you get EXTRA CRISPY. If you do not want extra crispy just go through the process once. You will want to do about four pieces at one time as to not overload the oil and you don’t want the chicken to sit breaded as it gets gummy.
Carefully put the chicken into the oil. When it is in, increase your heat on the oil to bring the temperature back to 390F – 400F. Since the chicken is already cooked, all you are trying to do is brown the breading! About three minutes in the oil will do. When you have reached your desired color, remove the chicken from the oil and let it rest on a rack. Season with a little salt.
The nice thing about this is if you don’t want to fry all the chicken you do not have to. Leave it in the bag and place it in the fridge and the next day you can fry the chicken from cold. You will need to heat the oil to about 330F – 340F, but the rest of the process remains the same. The cook process will take longer, about 8 minutes, but hey it’s still packed with all that flavor and the chicken is already cooked!
I topped mine with a mixture of sesame, scallions, soy, chili paste, lime and fresh ginger. Enjoy!
I had just finished planning a three-course dinner for some visiting customers. My goal was to demonstrate CVap versatility with contemporary applications and menu trends. I had settled on a menu that included the following:
First Course – Southern fried chicken boa with Kim Chi
Second Course – Moroccan grilled lamb loin with Tzatziki and quinoa tabouleh
Dessert – molten chocolate cake with Chantilly cream
I was quite pleased with the ethnic diversity represented by the meal as well as the variety of CVap and Collectramatic applications. With menu in hand I began to create my ingredient list and production schedule. About 30 minutes into my planning and two days before the meal, I received a note that one of our guests was vegan. What?! How was I going to make the above menu vegan? I certainly wasn’t going to offer only salad and tofu! So I set my mental wheels in motion and this is what I came up with:
Southern fried cauliflower bao with Kim chi
Moroccan grilled beets with quinoa tabouleh and silken tofu Tzatziki
Vegan double chocolate pistachio cake with whipped spiced coconut cream
But first, there were several hurdles to overcome:
Making the Kim Chi without fish sauce, where do you get the Umami?
Get cauliflower to emulate the look and feel of a fried chicken thigh!
How to get tender beets without turning them to mush…
Whipped coconut cream?!
With a little help from Alex Talbot and J Kenji Lopez-Alt and a lot of help from CVap I think we did pretty well. Here are a few pictures from our luncheon and the recipe for the Southern Fried Cauliflower. If you’d like the rest of the recipes send me a note and I’d be glad to share.
Brine Recipe for Cauliflower:
- 3 liters cold water
- ¾ cup kosher salt
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup bourbon barrel soy
- 2 stalks celery thinly sliced
- ½ small sweet onion sliced
- 6 cloves of garlic smashed
- 4 bay leaves
- 10 peppercorns
- 10 cloves
- 1 liter of ice
Directions: Place all ingredients but ice in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add ice. Store in refrigerator until you are ready to use.
- 2 heads cauliflower, cut into 2-inch thick steaks and then quartered
- 1/2 cup savory brine
- 1 teaspoon bourbon barrel soy sauce
Directions: Place cauliflower pieces in sous vide bags, cover with prepared brine, add soy, and vacuum seal. Place in CVap set on Constant Cook at 185F food doneness and 0 level browning. Cook for one hour. Place immediately in water bath to cool and then place in refrigerator until you are ready to fry the cauliflower.
Breading and Frying:
- 2 cups of your favorite breading
- ½ cup brine
Dust cauliflower with breading, dip in brine, then bread lightly with breading mix. Drop into a Collectramatic fryer set on open fry 350F for 3 and half minutes. Voila! Vegan fried “chicken”!
When you think of gingerbread, do you picture crisp cookies and holiday decorations? Or do you picture a moist, cakey treat that is best served warm with a dollop of fresh whipped cream? We’ve been leaning towards the latter!
In celebration of the holiday season, we’re sharing a couple of gingerbread recipes with you. The first yields a dark, moist cake, and the second (adapted from a USDA/NFSMI recipe) is geared toward high volume service. Both are delicious served either warm or chilled, and both recipes are written for the CVap Thermalizer Oven.
Moist Gingerbread (Small Batch)
½ cup white sugar
½ cup butter
1 cup molasses
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water
- In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Blend into the creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water. Pour into a prepared pan.
- Bake on Channel 4 for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan before serving.
Gingerbread (Large Batch @100 Servings)
¾ gallon + ½ cup enriched all-purpose flour
¼ gallon whole wheat flour
¼ cup baking soda
3 ½ cups sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 ½ cups vegetable oil
20 large egg whites
1 quart 3 ½ cups water, hot
1 quart 3 cups molasses
2 cups chopped ginger
- Select Channel 3 to preheat CVap Thermalizer. Prepare two 18×26 size pans by covering with parchment paper.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ground ginger in a mixing bowl. Mix on low speed for 1 minute until ingredients are combined.
- In a separate bowl, mix vegetable oil, egg whites, hot water, and molasses with a large wire whip until blended.
- Slowly add the wet oil mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed for 1 minute.
- Pour @ 1 gallon of batter into each sheet pan and scatter chopped ginger over the top.
- Place in the preheated Thermalizer oven and bake 35 minutes.
- Cut each pan into 5×10 pattern or 50 pieces per sheet pan.
To Hold Warm Gingerbread
Hold baked gingerbread for up to two hours in CVap with the Food Temperature set at 140° F and the Food Texture set at 5° F.
I’ve noticed the CVap blog is pretty bereft of vegetable preparation and is almost exclusively about the CVap Cook/Hold oven. I decided that my next blog post would feature the CAT Thermalizer Oven instead! I also wanted to see how some of my favorite vegetable dishes would work using CVap.
I decided to test three vegetable dishes: Roasted Broccoli Florets, Roasted Cauliflower and Roasted Baby Carrots. All of these veggies I have prepared in a convection oven at 425°F. Since the CVap oven only goes to 350°F I had a couple of things to consider when converting these items to CVap preparation.
I am amazed at the difference that roasting vegetables makes to kids. My daughter has always turned her nose up to broccoli no matter how many ways I have prepared it. Roasting it made all the difference.
I did three different preparations, all of them very simple and all done on Channel 5 on the CAT Thermalizer oven. This setting has a 130°F water temperature and a 350°F air temperature. This high differential allows for the greatest browning potential. I did the following items:
Baby carrots with honey and cajun spice. First, toss the carrots in a bowl with honey and Cajun spice to taste. These take 20 minutes total cook time.
Broccoli tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. After 18 minutes in the oven I pulled the trays out and sprinkled them with grated parmesan cheese. I placed them back in the oven for 2 minutes, and then drizzled lemon juice over the top after they came out.
Cauliflower with plain yogurt and red curry paste.Toss the cauliflower florets in the yogurt with the red curry paste then add salt and pepper. This takes about 25 minutes total cook time.
Since schools are looking to increase the amount of fresh vegetables that are included in their lunches this is a perfect way to make use of equipment that is normally used to cook pizzas and breaded chicken products to make something from scratch that is very easy and healthy!
Summer is by far my favorite time of year. It is an escape from winter. The sun is out, the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming. Millions upon millions of people leave their dens of hibernation for the great outdoors. But to me, there are three things that truly signal the beginning of spring: baseball, beer, and BBQ. Today we will be focusing on the king of grill toppers, ribs!
My normal procedure for baby backs would be 225 degrees on my smoker for 4-5 hours. But that limits me to only cooking and eating ribs on the weekends and I’m way too greedy for that. Luckily, I have a CVap Cook and Hold! This technology allows me to cook the ribs beforehand in the oven and have them holding until I get off work. I can then finish them off on the grill at my convenience.
1 slab baby back ribs
3 tablespoons salt
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup paprika
2 tablespoons cup garlic powder
1 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger powder
1 tablespoons onion powder
1 teaspoon rosemary powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
BBQ Sauce of your choice
1. Remove membrane and sprinkle salt on both sides of the ribs and allow them to dry brine overnight.
2. Mix together all dry ingredients in a bowl to create your dry rub.
3. Rub a thin layer of vegetable oil on the ribs and then coat with dry rub.
4. Place ribs on half size sheet pan and put them into the Cook and Hold oven.
CVap Cook and Hold Settings
High Yield Mode: ON
Time: 5 hours
At this setting, the ribs will hold at 135 degrees for 6 hours
Finally, fire up your grill and baste ribs in your favorite BBQ sauce. When the grill is at its hottest, place ribs directly over heat to allow the sauce to caramelize and get some texture on the outside. Slice ribs and serve!
It shouldn’t be a surprise that BBQ is very hot right now! I know not everyone has a smoker in their kitchen, but I follow two websites pretty closely for great information about BBQ and food techniques. The best resource for BBQ that I have ever found is Amazing Ribs and for technique, especially sous vide, I always go to Chef Steps.
While browsing through Chef Steps I found their method for “Apartment Ribs”. Basically, the ribs are salted, bagged, and cooked in an immersion circulator set to 167 ° F for 6 hours for St. Louis style and 4 hours for Baby Backs. Then the ribs are blotted dry and painted with a mixture of molasses and liquid smoke before the rub is applied. Ten minutes in a 450° F convection oven to set the bark and caramelize the sugars and the ribs are done! Sounds easy enough, right?
I wanted to duplicate the process using CVap and see how it worked out. I placed the ribs on a rack on top of a sheet pan and covered the ribs and pan with foil. This simulates the bagging you would need to do in an immersion circulator. I set the CVap for CONSTANT COOK then set DONENESS to 167 and BROWNING to 0. I set the timer for 6 hours and pressed start.
Upon completion of the cycle, the CVap will revert to a 150 Doneness + 0 Browning hold setting. At that point, I blotted the ribs dry and painted with the molasses/liquid smoke mixture and applied a generous dusting of Memphis Dust Rub from the Amazing Ribs website. (this is a REALLY good rub that I use on just about anything BBQ). Ten minutes in a 450° F convection oven and they turned out perfect.
People who have had my ribs from my smoker said that these were moister than usual! The ribs were perfectly cooked with a bit of resistance to the bite. “Fall off the bone” is overdone – and highly overrated in my opinion! If you don’t have to bite the meat off the bone, you will never win a competition. The slow, precise cooking from CVap is what made the difference and there was no loss of moisture with this method!