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Sous Vide: Turkey Breast

Cooked turkey is more common in the market than raw. Most people don't know that almost all retail/deli turkey has been processed sous vide.

Ingredients

Turkey breasts: 2-4 lbs each, 1-2 Kg each.
Kosher salt, 1 tsp/lb/450 g.
Ground black pepper, as needed.
Vegetable oil, approximately 2 oz/60 ml.

Refinements:

Mashed potatoes, click the link HERE
Turkey gravy, click the link HERE
Carrots.
Peas.
Corn.
Cranberry sauce.
Dressing.

Sliced bread, as needed.
Mayonnaise.
Lettuce, iceberg, or your preference.
Tomatoes, sliced.
Avocados.
Cheddar cheese.

Equipment requirements
Immersion circulator, portable or stationary.
Heat rated Lipavi container, minimum of 2 gallons/8 liters.
Lipavi L10 rack or larger.
Heat rated sous vide bags.
Thick bottomed skillet, approximately 12″/35 cm.
Toaster.
Infrared thermometer.
Propane torch.

Serves 3+

Level of difficulty 2

Preheat your sous vide bath to between
135 F/57 C for a processing interval of (4-8 hours) and
155 F/68 C for a processing interval of (2.5 -4 hours).

At first glance, many newcomers find sous vide time requirements to appear inconvenient. Unlike traditional methods, and because of the uniquely precise temperatures utilized, there is no “moment” before which the protein in question is under-cooked or after which it is over-cooked. Even though temperatures within 5 F above or below 140 F/60 C  are generally preferred, those temperatures can be increased to accelerate the process. This will result in a slight but tolerable increase in moisture release from the protein.

Once pasteurization has been achieved, and the lower the acceptable temperature used, processing intervals may frequently be extended to as long as 100% of the original target time without causing a noticeable difference in results. This opens up a world of possibilities that make sous vide processing MORE convenient than conventional cooking.

Based on the temperature utilized, the practitioner can decide whether to utilize an 8+ hour interval that starts in the morning (i.e. before leaving for work) to as little as 3 hours or even less in some cases.

If one opts to cold shock and refrigerate the turkey breast, the retherming process can be accomplished in one hour or less–no longer than the time required to assemble a meal prepared by conventional means. Faster than having a pizza delivered.

Procedure:

Vacuum seal the individual turkey breast(s) in heat rated plastic bags. Sous vide process the packages for the intervals listed above that most closely match your preferences.

After this specified interval has elapsed, the turkey can be removed from the bag and seasoned. The skin can be seared in a lightly oiled 350 F/176 C skillet, allowed to rest for five minutes and then sliced and served. Or, the sealed package can be cold shocked in iced water until it achieves 70 F/21 C, refrigerated it to 40 F/4 C, labeled, dated, and then rethermed at your convenience. As long as the seal is not broken, the turkey will keep in the refrigerator for at least two weeks.

For a more extensive explanation of how to remove the bones from a raw turkey breast, visit HERE. To make turkey gravy from the bones visit HERE.

Retherming

Preheat the sous vide bath to
135 F/57 C.

Remove the refrigerated breast from the bag. Harvest the juices and set aside for clarification., Pat the breast dry. Heat the large skillet to 250 F/121 C and add enough oil to coat. Season the breast with salt and pepper and slowly sear the breast on the skin side only.

Seal the seared breast in a heat rated vacuum bag and stage into the sous vide bath for 1-2 hours as per your preference. This will give you time to assemble the other components of your meal.

Hot Service

Remove the turkey from the bag and pat dry. Slice and serve.

Above: a traditional presentation with dressing (prepared separately), cranberry sauce, carrots and peas. For a detailed explanation of how to make the sauce, visit HERE.

There are also other methods to make “brown gravy,” linked HERE.

A few drops of extra virgin olive oil and cranberry sauce add definition to the visual palate.

Above and below: a richer, more heavy handed approach includes the espagnole type “gravy,” as is and also with a small amount of creme fraiche incorporated into it.

Cold Service

Sliced thin, the turkey can be incorporated into the ever growing list of popular sandwiches and wraps. This can be done before or after the searing process, as is your preference. Although the deli versions of sous vide turkey usually include the un-seared skin, it is easily peeled off before slicing as preferred.

Ben Franklin felt strongly that the turkey better represented our national spirit than should the eagle. Admittedly, “Tom” is much more utilitarian and useful than the aggressively predatory and nearly extinct eagle.

As an old school dinosaur myself, I cannot abandon the urge to trim the crust.

The Dagwood

Cast Iron grilled, a fine point that the palate is actually capable of distinguishing.

From bottom to top–grilled bread, cranberry, turkey, avocado, turkey, cranberry, cheddar, seasonings…

Sliced tomato, shredded lettuce with kosher salt and extra virgin olive oil, mayonnaise on grilled bread.

Norm King

 

About

Turkey is one of the greatest beneficiaries of sous vide processing. Once pasteurized, its shelf life is greatly extended. The end product is moist. Even though Americans associate turkey with the Thanksgiving holiday, turkey and the iconic club sandwich reign supreme year round in overall sales and popularity.

Sliced thin, with or without cheese and/or avocado, toast or no toast, tomatoes or no tomatoes, you don't have to study the metrics to know this item dominates cold sandwich stations everywhere. The same temperature parameters can be used on a 2 lb turkey breast as on a 6 lb turkey breast with only slight modifications in the length of the processing interval.

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