This is a totally fuss-free light meal: freshly made sourdough (toasted), crispy pancetta and a slowly cooked duck egg, with a few fresh chives snipped over the top. When simplicity reigns!
A nice walk while the eggs were gently cooking in their water bath, returning to a perfectly cooked egg epitomises relaxed bliss!
During my time on Britain’s Best Home Cook I was itching to use a sous-vide machine, but sadly I could not work it into any of my dishes. It might have been a brave choice to serve egg, bacon and toast to the judges……but I will never know!
Sous-vide at home: a great way to cook
I have the Andrew James sous-vide machine which I was fortunate to have received a couple of years ago. It rapidly became one of my must-haves in the kitchen: very simple to use, you can get on and do other things while the food slowly cooks.
This is one of those gadgets that does not fester away, unloved, at the back of a cupboard!
Sous-vide machines are now more affordable for the home user: if I had the choice between a food mixer and a sous-vide machine, and could only choose one item, I would choose the sous-vide machine without a second thought!
This machine doubles up as a great slow cooker, too: perfect when it comes to the autumn and winter when I can have a casserole of some type gently cooking away while I am at work.
I use my sous-vide machine so often for such a variety of elements for general dishes, such as my sous-vide pork tenderloin with creamed leeks and chorizo (picture above). The recipe for this is here.
I now have literally scores of recipes I have created waiting to be posted, with many more ideas scribbled down on paper to be tested out! Oh if I am ever fortunate to get a cook book published…..
Sous-vide temperature and time for eggs
Ok, it might seem odd to slowly cook an egg in this way when you can poach or soft-boil an egg in moments, but the flavour and the texture you get when it is slowly cooked is something else.
I have given many friends taste tests of eggs that had been cooked sous-vide, eggs that had been soft boiled and eggs that have been poached: so far the sous-vide eggs have won every time!
I have experimented with many types of eggs several times to get precisely the texture I like: a just-set white (not resembling mucus!) and a very soft yolk that slowly oozes when you cut into it……
I found the duck eggs cooked perfectly when the machine is set to 63C (145F) for between 45 minutes and a little longer. Once the machine comes to temperature, carefully place the eggs in the water (you don’t need to vacuum-pack them):
- at 45 minutes: the whites are just-set and you have a lovely runny yolk (as in the photos in this post)
- at an hour: the whites are just a little firmer but still soft; the yolks are thicker but not fully set: more like very soft butter
I cook hen eggs at the same temperature, but for between 35 minutes and 50 minutes.
The gentle shelling of the eggs
Once the eggs have cooked, you then remove the eggs from the water bath and carefully shell them while still warm if serving immediately.
If you are going to serve the eggs cold, let them cool fully in their shells before peeling off the shells.