Multi stage cooking (veg and meat with just one Anova)

This is being written as the cook progresses. Enjoy!

The food:

2 x medium size Nadine potatoes sliced 1.5cm thick and vacuum packed with a chunk of butter and dried chili flakes.

1 x Porterhouse Steak approx. 2cm thick, slathered with English horseradish and vacuum packed with yet more yummy butter.

Serving just for me.

The plan:

Potatoes at 84c for 1 hour

Cool the bath to 58c leaving the potatoes in place to keep warm until serving.

Porterhouse Steak at 58c for 1 hour

The action:

6.10pm: Fish tank ambient 28c - don’t want to risk adding hot water in case the seals give.

Added potatoes from the start 'cos it won’t hurt, right?

Curse the (beta) app for not having an alarm when the water reaches set temperature.

Curse the (beta) app for other reasons that belong in a different thread.

Would have thawed the frozen steak in the fish tank until the temperature got to 58c but the lack of alarm puts the kibosh on that plan, so in the sink it went. .

Anova, your app needs a manual control section with various temperature and time alarm settings and programmable multi-stage temperature and time settings. Plus your forum’s HTML bold tag works but the italics tag does not.

Made a makeshift lid from cling-wrap for the top of the fish tank otherwise the Anova won’t reach target temperature any time within the next week.Even then it’s a slow progression up to temp without starting with heated water. Perhaps the fish tank idea needs more thought (and a form-fitting insulated lid)

The stupidity:

It burnssss! I just now did the math and it will be more than 2½ hours before I get to eat, most certainly not ideal for a mid-week dinner without better planning and an app with built-in multi-stage programming (did I mention alarms?). Suddenly a second APC moves up from a nice idea to a must-have. Shame I’m skint. And @jordan what does ‘skint’ rhyme with?

7pm and the bath is still 20c short of the temperature needed for the potatoes. The steak is thawed so I can’t re-freeze it, so I will cook it as planned but ice-bath it and have it cold in sandwiches tomorrow.

In spite of what seems like a negative experience, I actually love this. It’s an experiment and therefore a learning opportunity. It’s also an objective lesson in that using Sous Vide in your cooking routine absolutely requires patience and forward planning. Next time I try this it will work out perfect, and will be better than doing it any other way. If you’ve never failed, you haven’t tried hard enough.

Addendum: 7.15pm and even with the makeshift lid, the water bath is still only at 75c. Looks like burgers for dinner tonight and cold steak and potato sandwiches for work tomorrow.

1 Like

I have a Cambro container that is just under 5 gallons and it seems to do a fairly good job of holding the heat in. I have never tried starting out with cold water. I normally use hot tap water. I too am thinking that a second unit may be helpful especially if vegetables are planned using sous vide.

Update 8.30pm
Scooping out warm water from the fish tank and replacing it with cold water from the tap to try and get the temperature down without it getting too low so that it needs to heat up again, to drop the steak in. Ice cubes? Plink plink plink.

Update 9pm
Decided to tuck in to the potatoes rather than have to reheat them tomorrow. Glad I did, they are firm yet consistent, not at all like undercooked steamed potatoes except paradoxically similar in texture (but in a good way). I don’t start out with cold water, I start out with water that is the ambient temperature of my environment (Western Australia, aka Scorchio). In this uncivilised part of the world we don’t know what a “cambro” or a “gallon” is.

Update 9.15pm
Potatoes were tasty, lots of juice in the bottom of the bowl, microwaving some slices of frozen bread to mop them up. Steak will be finished at 10pm for a dunk in cold water and then in to the fridge, and then to bed (me, not the steak). The chili flakes really add something special.

@Simon_C I forgot where you were. In my container I use about 17 liters of water for larger quantities. Cambro is a restaurant quality polycarbonate plastic container. It is more rigid than a normal storage container. Here is a link to a picture on Amazon of the one I have: My hot tap water is about 52°C by the time I transfer it. I have been using the post cook cooled off water for my hydroponic garden so I don’t waste any. I am about ready to transition to outside plants in a few weeks. I grow greens indoors all Winter. I have not tried potatoes yet only carrots. They were excellent. I have found that it is easier for me to switch containers based on the quantity of food. I made poached eggs this past weekend and used a soup pot and a Ziploc bag. For the larger volume I might look around and see if I still have an immersion electric water heater to speed up the initial warm up time.