Thermocook Sous-Vide – Balsamic Duck Breast:
One of the biggest attractions for me of the Thermomix was having a kitchen utensil that was really multi-functional. I’ve never quite been able to justify spending over a thousand pounds though. So, I was (and still am) really excited to be given the opportunity to review and use the Thermocook Optimum. I’m still at that ‘experimental’ stage where most of the things I do need to be re-tested and fine tuned. I’ve made soups, I’ve used the Thermocook as a slow cooker and I’ve made a LOT of mashed potato. But, the most innovative thing I’ve done, using the Thermocook as a sous-vide is an idea I’ve stolen from the Thermomix forums. It is something that really does work exceptionally well and, I think, needs to be celebrated and shared.
I started off by testing the temperature control of my Thermocook. I wanted to see how capable it was of maintaining a steady temperature around 60c – the level at which many sous-vide recipes work best. I was pleasantly surprised. It really does seem to be able to hold an exact temperature for hours. Once I was sure that the machine was up to the job, I set out to experiment a bit using ziplock bags and water displacement to seal my food
So far I’ve tried venison shoulder steaks and duck breast. They are both the sort of thing I would normally pan fry, but which I struggle to get cooked through yet rare. They also both have a tendency to be a little tough. Of the two, the duck breast was a resounding success while the venison was good but not perfect. I allowed two and a half hours for each at 60c, but I suspect the venison would have benefited from a longer cooking period at a slightly lower temperature. If you are making this yourself in a Thermocook I suggest using the kneading shaft – you don’t want to accidentally pierce your sealed sous-vide bag. The size of the jug on the Thermocook means that you will probably not be able to sous-vide more than 4 medium size duck breasts at a time.
There is a wealth of information about cooking temperatures and times on the internet. I used this guide and adapted my recipe from this one. Nerves got the better of me, so I cooked the meat for a little longer and at a slightly higher temperature. One of the best things about sous-vide cooking though is that you can keep food at the ‘perfect’ level for a couple of hours. So a meat like duck breast which might get tough if you overcook it in the oven or a frying pan will be beautifully tender and pink even if the phone rings and you end up talking for an hour or so when you should be serving dinner.
The recipe is ultra simple – and I shall be making it again. The duck breast is meltingly tender – and I think it would be great served cold, sliced into a salad.
Now I’m not an egg eater – but I’d love to know how the Thermocook fares at making a slow-cooked egg. Apparently, you just pop the eggs straight into the water bath/Thermocook jug and cook. Eat your heart out Heston!
The Thermocook is now available for just under £500. At less than half the price of the Thermomix but with all the functionality, that’s something of a bargain.
Disclosure: Froothie UK sent me the Optimum ThermoCook to use and review at home. I have not been paid for this post and was not required to give the ThermoCook a positive write up. All opinions are my own. There are affiliate links in this post so that if you buy the Optimum Thermocook I will get a small commission.