cholent

can CHOLENT be cooked sous vide ?
anyone has tried or has a recipe ?

Y, if you mean, - can it be successfully SV cooked?
The answer is no.

The SV cooking technique is used for precise cooking. Cooked mixtures of meat, starches and vegetables don’t succeed because the ingredients have significantly different SV cooking times and temperatures.

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I think I disagree with this, @chatnoir, and I wonder if that’s because I am a complete noob and missing something. So I will challenge your response in the equal hopes of education or vindication: Isn’t Cholent essentially a stew? I cook all components of a stew from raw in the same pot, so why not in the same sous vide bag?

Educate or vindicate – Hit me!

:slight_smile:
(Humbly, Joe)

If it CAN be SV’ed, the recipe here (https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/cholent/) suggests 200 degrees for 12-16 hours in an oven, or Low in a slow cooker for 16 hours. So I would think you could sv it for 12-16 hours at 200 and get a similar experience. Again, educate or vindicate this hopeless noob.

Joe, since you disagree with my experience using the SV cooking technique you might better learn from having your own experience.
Cook a batch of Cholent for yourself.

Please keep a detailed record that will enable you to share your experience with this Community. If i were doing a SV test cook of a conventionally cooked menu item it would be a small batch. Besides in Ottawa now you can’t invite the neighbours and extended family over to sample your outcome. A small batch will be more forgiving of errors, particularly with respect to the correct fluid content for complete cooking of the dry ingredients. When developing a recipe i weigh the ingredients which help me calculate the total necessary amount of fluids. Once the SV bag is sealed, there’s no adjustments possible.

Before starting you should plan to reduce evaporation which will be considerable at that time and high temperature, or be extra vigilant and frequently monitor the water level. Add heated water to maintain temperature consistency.

Older Anova circulators have been failure prone due to water vapour unfavourably impacting their moisture sensitive electronics. Some prevention would be wise. Also, if you are not using an insulated vessel, you might want to consider employing some method to reduce heat loss as you are cooking above the normal operating range of most domestic SV circulators resulting in a potentially distressed machine.

Having done a lot of retort cooking, which is essentially what you are attempting, i discovered that 5 cm or 2-inches is the maximum practical product thickness for successful and safe results. Flatten your SV bags to achieve that. They can be big, but need to be flat.

Plan well to do well, and please share your results.

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I’ve been educated! Thanks @Chatnoir!

I have no plans to make a Cholent, but I saw the thread as a chance to learn, and you obliged me in spades. I hadn’t considered the issue of evaporation – which will be part of my thinking going forward.

Thanks VERY(!!) much for sharing your knowledge – much appreciated!

Joe

My pleasure Joe. I’m disappointed you are throwing in your cook’s towel. Most cooks don’t realize how much energy is wasted by evaporation, - essentially converting liquid water to its gaseous state.

Critical thinking is a valuable asset in becoming a competent cook. You will also do better if you forget most of your conventional cooking knowledge as most of it doesn’t apply in SV cooking.

Do well.

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Less throwing in the towel than stopping commenting on an interesting topic in which I really have no skin in the game: I don’t currently sous vide, but I did just get one of the ovens. All the bags put me off SV, but my daughter and her chef fiancee sous vide and love it. My so-far limited experience with the oven is making me reconsider my feelings about traditional sous vide, although I recognize they are very different things. But I tend to trust the companies that earn it, and Anova is first and foremost a sous vide company. So I am thinking about moving in that direction as well.

By the way, so far, the oven rocks! And it’s a lot easier to get into as a traditional cook than proper SV, especially someone like me who smokes a lot of food in the summer months and really appreciates the whole low-and-slow thing. The oven does low and slow with no dry-out incredibly well.

Thanks again for your time and patience – VERY appreciated!

Joe

Joe, back in the early days when the SV cooking technique was being developed by leading chefs in Spain and France there was a lot of controversy over the use of steam vs. water bath cooking.

Water bath cooking eventually won due to it’s more consistent and precise application of heat. In the home kitchen there aren’t the same concerns as you are unlikely to fill your oven’s cavity they way commercial kitchens sometimes do for advanced cooking (cook-chill).

My observation of Anova’s oven, judging by Community posts, is that it appears to have been rushed to market after insufficient rigorous testing by seasoned cooks.

Happy cooking, and keep well.

Funny you should say that about the oven, Frank: I can see a couple of places where a better design would have lead to fewer (sometimes, I think, user-error) issues. I think of things like the water inlet being almost horizontal so you have to push the tank onto it would have been better (and less easy to get wrong) if it were vertical like a Keurig. I wonder if most of the issues are QC rather than kitchen testing, but more cooks testing might have resulted in more recipes.

Mine has so far not suffered from any of the problems others have had, and it’s proving to be a surprisingly useful piece of kit. Highlights so far are

  • cookies with 40% steam that came out crispy on the outside and moist on the inside
  • a brisket that, after 8 hours, lost almost none of it’s size, although, sadly, I didn’t cook nearly long enough to dissolve the connective tissue. Still tasty and moist, though, so no complaints other than the aforementioned impatience
  • a roast chicken that was fine after the first cook, but the surprise was how well it reheated, it came out with a texture and flavor that tasted nothing like oven-reheated leftovers (it tasted like the first cook)

I know others have had their issues, but, so far – touch wood – mine’s been a really satisfying device. It’s currently in the middle of the biggest test for my household: Ribs. I’ll update the thread on that if you’re interested once I see how they go.

Have a great weekend!

Joe

Joe, your useful comments are appreciated, thanks. Too often folks think reheating means recooking when all that needs to be done is to gently raise food to service temperature.

Some random musings:
In my experience, brisket is the most challenging cut of meat to really cook well. Not just done, but really delicious. And my experience goes way beck to working BBQs with Chef Walter Jetton, of LBJ’s Ranch fame. He was a wizard with hard wood fires. I suspect Texans somehow have an extra gene that gives them a special edge with BBQ. Eight hours isn’t nearly long enough if you are cooking the whole sub-primal cut.

Please share so we can all learn from your Anova Oven experience with ribs. It will be interesting as ribs come with some special challenges all of their own. Ribs can be either “fallin’ off the bone” done, or cooked to moist and tender with a bit of chew. And then there’s the dry bark club and the sticky sweet glaze fans. Plus the to smoke or not dilemma. Is’t it fun trying to please a crowd?

Sadly there are too few kitchen equipment manufacturers that make their equipment any more. Most of it is out-sourced to China or elsewhere in the Far East with an apparent we’ll-take-whatever-we-get quality control policy. If Companies required full credit for every piece of equipment returned by customers product quality might improve.

I feel like we’ve completely hijacked this thread. So, last one before I figure out where these comments really belong (General, maybe?). I cooked the ribs at 165 degrees (per the online recipe) at 100% steam for 12-and-change hours, basted them with sauce, and broiled them at 400 for 5 minutes. They were spectacular. Fall-off-the-bone, but not the least bit dried out like FOTB tends to be. Thick, meaty and very tasty. I still prefer the flavour of an 8-10 hour smoke on my Kamado, but it’s winter and I’m in Canada, so, smoking is not really a viable option if you also want them to cook evenly.

They say fat makes flavour, and, at 100% steam, the fat renders, but not very much of it migrates from the meat to the drippings pan. I’d guess less than half what I would normally see in an oven bake.

So, final verdict on the ribs: Not quite as tasty as smoked, but a completely different experience that was excellent. Certainly blew oven-baked into the weeds. One of the attractions of this oven was that we would be able to do reasonably good ribs in the winter, and it did not disappoint.

Hi Joe, how’s it going?

Have you considered using a high quality liquid smoke? Many cooks tend to over use it, just 3 or 4 drops per rack will do you. I think you’ll discover the outcome using your indoor technique comes surprisingly close to your egg’s result.

Keep well, and stay safe.

I have and I did, but not enough, and it was an older bottle that may have become denatured. Just bought a new bottle of mesquite liquid smoke for next time. Also, I did share my experience here: Precision Oven: Ribs.

Thanks again for the exchange. I’m really enjoying both the oven and the supportive community!