“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!
In my heyday of contemporary cooking (call it what you will, Farm to Table, Conscious Cuisine, Haute Cuisine, whatever), preservation was (and had always been) a major trend. Preservation – in the forms of pickling, fermenting, smoking, curing etc. – are all ways to preserve the season you are working with. This allows chefs to provide the best products and extend the seasons.
How does this relate to CVap? If you have ever done any at-home vegetable canning, you know how difficult it can be. It is equally difficult to manage all those jars and lids in a restaurant kitchen. So I removed the conventional boiling of jars from the equation and used CVap technology instead. Removing boiling water from the process makes canning much safer and easier.
Many factors are involved when canning items; acidity, altitude, head space, etc., to name a few. Because these variable factors can cause a canning process to go wrong, I will avoid providing a recipe. However, I will list the steps that I used to pickle vegetables and preserve clementines in CVap.
- In the Cook & Hold Oven, I set the unit to 200 Food Temperature and 4 Food Texture. This gave me an overall temperature of 230°F. By doing so, I am able to ensure that all the bacteria are eliminated and the jars sanitized, and eliminating the processing step.
- I brought my CVap up to temp and loaded all the jars, open, facing up into the unit. In that same pan, I placed all the lids and bands.
- While the sanitation process was working, I prepared my pickling liquid and vegetables separately.
- When I was finished with the vegetables and liquid I was able to remove the jars from the CVap and fill each.
- When dealing with potentially hazardous foods, it is essential to keep the jars sanitized until they are ready to fill. By leaving them in the CVap, I was able to ensure the jars remained safely sanitized.
- After they were filled, I placed the lids and bands on each jar (finger tight) and loaded them back into the CVap for the processing step. This last step is crucial to the canning process, enabling a tight seal.
- When they came out, I left them to cool at room temperature for 24 hours. The lids did not bubble and a week later I got to pop open a jar and enjoy the vegetables I pickled.
The title of this post is accurate, it’s not a typo. Beurre noisette is the French term for brown butter. It’s typically a sauce in which whole butter is melted until the milk solids separate (from the butter fat), caramelize and brown. It’s incredibly rich and delicious, and the aroma and flavor resemble that of a toasted hazelnut.
In this case, I wanted to brown the cream in a CVap prior to making the butter. I checked with a few CVap experts to get their thoughts, and the consensus was that it couldn’t be done. However, I was determined to give it a go, so I proceeded to try…and it worked!
I sought out the most unprocessed, unadulterated cream that I could find, which was plain pasteurized cream from Whole Foods. I wanted to ensure that there were none of the stabilizers that are typically found in more processed brands.
Cook & Hold Set Points. Constant Cook ON (Green Light ON), 200°F Doneness, 1 Browning, 10 Hours. Mason jars were filled about half way, and into the oven they went.
I checked the cream from time to time because of the setpoints I was using – I wanted to ensure that the oven would not run out of water, and I needed to monitor the visual changes of the cream (Note: Do not agitate the cream when checking its appearance!). If your oven’s auto water fill has been hooked up, this would be a great overnight process. I increased the frequency of my cream checks as it evolved, to ensure that I was going in the right direction. I probably could have taken the process further, but after ten hours, my bed was beckoning.
The next morning, I prepared the batches of butter. I had reserved a pint of cream the day before to make a control butter, and I did so following the standard process using a stand mixer with the whip attachment. Next, I attempted to do the same with the browned cream.
I immediately noticed one glaring difference; the browned cream did not whip and aerate like the control. There was no volume at all! I was skeptical at that point and about to concede in defeat, but I kept it whipping and it suddenly separated! At that point I knew it would work and I’d be able to make brown butter butter.
What was my conclusion to this dairy experiment? That the milk solids are what caramelize; not the actual fat. When straining the buttermilk from the fat, the buttermilk had more of the delicious rich, nutty notes we all expect from brown butter. The fat did absorb those same characteristics, just not to as great a degree.
Now what to do…. I’m thinking ice cream, beurre blanc, brown buttermilk dressings, sauces, smoked brown butter butter, crème brûlée, anything really that uses buttermilk, cream or butter!
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.
There are so many sensory delights to appreciate in a properly roasted turkey. The skin should have a consistent golden brown hue and a crisp texture that is audible when met with a knife (or a pair of fingers trying to filch a tidbit before it goes to the table). The breast meat should be tender and juicy while the dark meat should be succulent and toothsome. The aroma should be rich and intoxicating, filling the kitchen with a scent that is tangible and evokes memories of Thanksgiving or holiday feasts.
Brining is an option many cooks exercise though we don’t do it every time we roast a turkey. When we do, a couple of our favorite concoctions include salt + sugar + paprika + granulated garlic + granulated onion + peppercorns + water or salt + sugar + aromatics (onion, carrot, celery) + thyme + rosemary + Italian parsley + bay leaves + water. The benefit of brining a turkey is to impart additional flavor to the bird and to add moisture. Of course, if the turkey is cooked correctly, brining is unnecessary! In the tests we did for this post, the birds were not brined. Nor were they stuffed. While stuffing a turkey may be a tried and true part of cooking a Thanksgiving feast for many, we discourage the practice. In order to get the stuffing inside the bird to a safe endpoint temperature, you risk sacrificing the moistness of the white meat by overcooking it.
In one test, we roasted a 10 lb. turkey in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven (CAC) with the Food Temperature set at 190°F, Browning Level at 8, and we cooked it for three hours with Constant Cook ON.
In another test we cooked a bird in a CAC at 180°F with a Browning level of 6 for five hours with Constant Cook ON. As you can see, this test yielded skin that was not as brown or quite as crisp as the other test.
An alternative suggestion might be to cook a turkey at 175 + 0 to end point doneness and then either flash fry or flash roast it to brown and crisp up the skin. Using this method will yield extremely tender and juicy meat.
No matter which of these methods you use, the moral to this story is that a perfectly cooked turkey is something to be very thankful for!
Mark your calendar! Your opportunity to apply for the 2018 Winston Equipment Award is December 1, 2017!
The award provides ten pieces of Winston Foodservice equipment to a school district in need of improving its school meal kitchen facilities through a competitive grant process.
The winning school district can choose any ten pieces from Winston’s product line of CVap Holding Cabinets, CVap Hold & Serve Drawers, and CVap Retherm Ovens.
Winston works closely with the grant winner to determine needs and assist in the final selection of equipment. Winston also arranges delivery of the equipment to the district. Depending on which models are ordered, it could mean over $50,000 in new equipment for your district!
To apply, you must:
- Be an active SNA director-level member, who has been a member of SNA for at least one year.
- Be the person responsible for directing the school nutrition program for the school district.
How can I apply?
The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) will open the 2018 Winston Equipment Award application process on December 1st, 2017. The deadline for the application is January 15th, or once the first 75 applications have been received (whichever comes first). The application spots usually fill up quickly, so don’t delay in applying!
Want to hit the ground running? Prepare your application ahead of time by downloading the Application Preparation Worksheet. Responses may be copied and pasted from the worksheet into the online application. Visit https://www.schoolnutrition.org/equipmentgrants to learn more.
Best of luck to all of you!
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.
I ran across a post on social media about New York style bagels. It got me thinking…can I do that in CVap oven? I already knew that I could proof in CVap, but I wanted to know if I could mimic the step where the bagels are boiled.
I found a generic recipe on King Arthur Flour’s website. This was an easy, straightforward recipe. As usual, there’s a point in the recipe that calls for the bagels to be boiled. I chose to go with tradition and boil some, and prepare the others in a CVap oven (as sort of a test and control). I also prepared the water with honey instead of lye, baking soda, malt powder, or other ingredients that people often use, simply because I was aiming for a sweeter bagel.
I prepared my bagels, let the dough proof, shape and rise again. The next step was to boil.
I brushed the proofed bagels with the honey water, and placed them in the CVap Cook & Hold. The unit was set at 200 Doneness and 1 Browning, Constant Cook ON. I elevated the bagels on a baking rack to ensure that the vapor would reach all sides of the bagel for five minutes.
The CVap results were better than expected. The bagels were very similar to the ones that I boiled, but they didn’t rise as much as the boiled bagels.
The next step involved baking. I reserved a few bagels to bake in a conventional oven, and baked the rest in the CVap (90 Doneness, 10 Browning, Constant Cook ON). The recipe recommends baking the bagels, then removing them from the oven to add toppings. This was a bit difficult – the bagels were hot and had to be sprayed with water to make the topping stick. I chose to make a variety of flavors; everything bagel, asiago bagel, asiago jalapeno bagel, and a few plain bagels. The bagels destined for the CVap were much easier, as I was able to top the bagels right after boiling them.
Not only were the CVap bagels easier to prepare, they also browned more evenly.
When they had cooled just enough to not burn my mouth, I dug in. The boiled/oven-baked bagels were much chewier on the exterior, and the toppings fell off. The CVap bagels were a little denser and crisper on the exterior. Both were delicious! A bit more tweaking of recipe and technique would probably result in a seamless process in the CVap. No boiling, no adding toppings mid-bake – painless and delicious!
The sous vide egg bites at Starbucks have become a very popular menu item since their introduction earlier this year. There are many copycat recipes on the web, but my go-to is usually Chef Steps for anything sous vide. They have a great recipe for a version of egg bites made in 4-oz. mason jars. I have a sous vide circulator so that I can compare items cooked sous vide with with those cooked in a CVap oven. The egg bites turned out fantastic. The simplicity of this recipe makes it easy to tweak; you can easily come up with healthy and tasty variations on your egg bites. My trial run in the sous vide water bath was successful, so it was time to try the CVap version.
I used the egg bites recipe (roughly) from Chef Steps to do my jar-less egg bites.
- 8 large eggs (approximately 350g)
- 350g of cottage cheese
- 3g salt
- 3g pepper
Blend the egg mixture thoroughly in a blender. Spray muffin tin with pan spray and fill with the blended egg mixture.
I chose to add cooked, chopped bacon to each of the egg bites.
The mix-ins are pretty wide open for these bites, but I had bacon in the fridge, and who doesn’t love bacon with their eggs? Seriously.
My goal was to mimic the Chef Steps method, where the bites are cooked in a water bath at 185°F for 25 minutes. I set the CVap Cook & Hold to Constant Cook, Doneness to 180°F and Browning to 2. This air temperature differential of 10 degrees keeps the egg bites from getting too much condensation on top. 25 minutes later I had perfectly cooked, firm egg bites.
The bites were easy to remove from the muffin pan, and they were delicious. Tender, velvety texture with the cottage cheese blended in. It was easy and hassle free to make a bunch at a time. Do you like sous vide cooking, but not the hassle and expense of bags or jars? CVap can cook sous vide style without the hassle.
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!
Summer is winding down. The approach of Labor Day marks the time to pack away your summer whites, and is perhaps your last chance to grill out before the leaves turn and a chill returns to the air. Why not try a unique twist on that perennial grill staple, the burger. Aussie Bison Sliders are a much-loved specialty in Australia. They are absolutely bursting with flavor, and can credibly be called a party in your mouth!
The classic Australian burger is composed something like this:
Our version is similar, but we added a couple of twists and advance staged the burgers to make service and assembly a snap:
Mix one quart of Egg Beaters® and pour onto a sprayed ½ sheet pan.
Cook in a CVap Cook/Hold Oven at 200 + 0 for 20 minutes. Finished product will resemble an egg crepe.
CVap Roasted Beets
Roast whole beets in a CVap Cook/Hold at 200 + 10 for 2 hours with Constant Cook ON, then drop down to 200 + 0 for two hours. After cooking, the beets are to be cooled, peeled and sliced thin.
Cook bacon strips in a CVap Thermalizer at 200 + 100 for 25 minutes, then crumble and set aside for the sauce.
Per pound of ground bison, mix the following ingredients:
1 ¼ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp granulated garlic
Divide bison mixture into 1 oz patties.
Advance stage in a CVap Cook/Hold at 135 + 0 for a minimum of 35 minutes or until you are ready to finish off on grill or flat top.
Small chop a can of pineapple, blend with bacon crumbles, add chopped scallions, and mix with a small amount of sweet Thai chili sauce.
On a sweet Hawaiian bun place a small amount of sauce, slider patty, mild cheddar cheese, egg, beets and serve.
No matter what time of year it is, we can (and should) cook with amazing fresh vegetables. This quiche, which was shared with us by the late Chef Jim Whaley, is fluffy, full of flavor, and features fresh kale – one of our favorite nutrient-packed, leafy greens! The many nutritional benefits of kale include being an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins K, C, A, and it is also a good source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron, and more. It really is a superstar vegetable, and it plays a starring role in this recipe. If you’ve read our previous blog posts about how beautifully CVap® technology handles eggs and custards, you know the consistency of the finished quiche will be delicate and fluffy.
Recipe: CVap Quiche with Fresh Kale
- 1 bunch fresh kale (collard greens may be substituted if kale is not available)
- 2 spring onions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 pie crust, deep dish, frozen or homemade
- 6 fresh eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 fresh tomato, small to medium size
- 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
Blanch the greens in a pot of boiling water for five minutes.
Drain the greens and cool, then remove stems and chop the greens into thin slices.
Slice the spring onions and garlic cloves. Heat a sauté pan and add the olive oil. Wilt the onions and garlic in the sauté pan, then add the sliced greens and sauté together with some salt and pepper for seasoning until the greens are tender.
Dice the fresh tomato. Place the sautéed greens, diced tomato, and shredded cheddar cheese in the pie crust.
In a bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and nutmeg together. Pour the egg mixture into the pie crust.
Place in a CVap Cook & Hold Oven set at 170/10/:30.
Cool before cutting and enjoy!
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 140°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.
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 .
May is National Barbecue Month! Nothing signifies the arrival of Summer like the rich flavor of barbecue. Recently we did BBQ a big crowd, and we had a blast doing it!
We cooked 7- to 10-lb. Boston pork butts traditionally for about ten hours on a Good-One® smoker until they reached an internal temperature of 180°F. Then they were quick-chilled on the bone and refrigerated. (Check out The Good-Ones website for some awesome smokers.) You can also add versatility to your CVap oven with the Winston Smoker Box.
The morning of the event, we rethermalized the butts in a CVap® at 200 + 100 for one hour, then pulled the pork and placed it in hotel pans. We tossed in our favorite sauce and held the pork in a CVap for three hours during service at 150 + 5.
The neat thing is that we cooked baked beans and scalloped potatoes at the same time, in the same CVap we were using to reheat the butts. So on the day of the party, we had an entire BBQ feast ready to serve in an hour and were able to keep everything fresh and hot for three more hours without babysitting anything. Best part (besides how good it tasted)? The cooks got to enjoy the party instead of slaving over the food!
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!
We examined corned beef brisket with two different settings that yielded two very different results.
Typically, when you order a corned beef sandwich or a grilled Reuben, you’ll find that the beef is either shredded texture or sliced. We tested to determine the ideal settings for both.
The recipe is straightforward. We used pickling spice and water to brine to briskets for several hours; and then cooked them in the brine.
The brisket that was ideal for shredding was cooked in a CVap Cook/Hold Oven at 190 + 4 for 11 hours.
The brisket that sliced beautifully was cooked in a CVap Cook/Hold Oven at 135 + 1 overnight.
Both results had phenomenal flavor and tenderness, so it really came down to personal preference, whether you wanted it shredded or sliced.
Speaking of how to serve it…
Corned beef is a St. Patrick’s Day staple, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it year-round! Take a departure from the traditional Reuben or corned beef sandwich by trying a couple of alternative combinations:
- Corned beef, kimchi, and mayo mixed with Sriracha or your favorite chili paste, served on rye bread (based on a recipe by Chef Camille Parker, Le Cordon Bleu, CamillesDish.com).
- Corned beef, horseradish slaw with Fuji apples, and smoked Gouda, served with Dijon mustard on marbled rye bread (based on a recipe by Chef Camille Parker, Le Cordon Bleu, CamillesDish.com).
- Corned beef, havarti, Dijon mustard, and sautéed or grilled onions, piled on pumpernickel rye bread and finished on a Panini grill.
Keep in mind there are more ways to serve corned beef than between two slices of bread:
- Corned beef hash with scrambled or poached eggs and toast points.
- Corned beef and mashed potatoes with parsley or dill, and braised cabbage.
- Corned beef (chopped), peas, Alfredo-type pasta sauce on fettuccine.
- Corned beef (chopped), bitter greens, and Fuji apples, served with cider vinegar/grainy mustard dressing.
- Of course, for us, a classic sandwich of tender CVap corned beef, Swiss cheese, cabbage or coleslaw, and spicy mustard on rye bread equals happy campers!
What’s your favorite way to enjoy corned beef? Please share with us on Facebook or Twitter, or leave your comments below!
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 tasting so good, is the fact that it is less greasy and can be prepared, mostly, ahead of time. Winston’s CVap® is the KEY to all of this. What I have done is reduced the fry time from 12 minutes down to about 3 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.