Foie gras, do I need to say anymore? I know there is a lot of controversy over this wonderful ingredient but I am sure glad it is not against the law in Texas to serve it. I know it is an acquired taste for some, I also know some like it only served warm, some like pate, and others like myself will take it any way it comes to the table. Torchon in french simply means "wrapped in a towel". This recipe was to see if I could make a foie gras pate or torchon in 24 hours. Now traditionally this process, normally takes 3 days or longer depending on your steps to prepare. Thomas Keller from the French Laundry cookbook soaks his in milk overnight. Normally you soak liver's in milk to draw out the blood and mineral flavor. There is a blog that does that recipe in steps and disputes the sous vide method
. Up until this point I have always used a traditional method of doing pate by curing the foie gras one day, then cooking in a terrine mold or torchon at low temperature, and then the weighing it down or hanging which usually takes about 2-3 days total from start to finish. I have never soaked the foie in milk prior to curing but I'm certainly not disputing that step, I simply have never done it.
Again this recipe, I wanted to see what kind of results I could get in the shortest amount of time. I can tell you that my results were just as good if not better than any torchon I have had anywhere. I am not bragging because many people tried it and agreed. I was actually really shocked on how well the flavor and texture came out within my time restraints. I wish I would have had a better camera for the photos because it doesn't do it justice. Now I did not use a cookie cutter to cut a perfect round because I wanted to show exactly what it looked like and really if you are serving this at home, a little of the left over fat around the outside I am totally fine with eating.
Traditional basic steps
1. Clean Foie and soak in milk overnight (first day)
2. Cure, and wrap the foie (2nd day)
3. Poach foie, shock in ice and then tie and hang overnight in the refrigerator (3rd day)
4. Slice and eat (4th day)
I had roughly a little over 2lb lobe of Foie Gras A. I used only half of it for the torchon
479g or roughly 1 lb 1 oz cleaned foie
3 tbsp Salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp of grappa sperss castello di barbaresco (you can use other sweet wine)
First thing to do is to cut the lobe in half so you have a little over a pound of foie. I started this at 7:30 in the morning. Cryovac the one half and reserve for later use. The other half place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and allow to come to room temperature. Once the foie gras is not so cold it will start to become more pliable. This is when you clean the foie gras of all the blood veins trying to touch it as little as possible because the heat from your hands will melt the foie gras. Follow the vein lines in the foie gras and remove any veins or extra fat or sinew. You must have the foie gras completely cleaned of veins to have a clean finished torchon or pate. Try to keep as much as you can in bigger pieces but don't feel like you can't cut up the foie to get all the veins out. Once you have removed all the veins season the foie gras aggressively with salt (I always use koshar or sea salt). Then with the sugar and the grappa. Mix well and prepare to wrap. To wrap the foie gras I just took a long piece of plastic wrap and placed the foie gras an inch from the bottom of the plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap you roll the foie, using the techniques of pinching the sides and holding the foie gras in one hand and pulling the top of the plastic in the other hand (think sushi roll using the bamboo mat). You want to try and roll it as tight as you can. Once you have roll it up as tight as you can, take a toothpick or pin and poke a few holes in the plastic for air bubbles to escape. Then take the two ends of the roll, pick the torchon up in the air and swing the torchon or twist the foie gras roll (torchon) so that it will become even tighter. The air will get pushed out and your torchon should become a little fatter from the ends becoming tighter. Tie both ends of the plastic wrap with butchers twine. Place the torchon into a cryovac back and seal air tight. Place in the refrigerator for 8 hours.
After the 8 hours have passed, set your sous vide machine to 130 degrees (4 o'clock pm). Meanwhile get a large bowl of ice water ready. Take the foie gras torchon out of the refrigerator and place into the sous vide. Sous vide for 8 1/2 minutes. I have done a torchon in a water bath in the oven before, and I know some poach the foie gras in boiling liquid for a minute and half and then shock it. But I could not find anywhere how long and at what temperature to sous vide the foie gras. So I just kept feeling the foie gras and looking at it so see how much fat loss I was having. I let it cook for about 8 1/2 minutes because the outside was definitely done and the middle was just a little firm. At that point I pulled the foie gras out and shocked it in the ice bath. After about 5 minutes in the bath, I took the foie gras out of the cryovac bag. I took cheese cloth and I rewrapped the torchon in the cheese cloth, leaving the original plastic wrap on. I poked a few more holes in the plastic and tied the ends of the cheese cloth in the same way I tied the plastic. On one end of the cheese cloth I left the string really long because this is what you use to tie the foie gras torchon up with in the refrigerator. So then tie the torchon from one end on what ever you can find in your refrigerator (rail, bar, rack, or grate). Hanging the torchon allows gravity to take the natural weight and force it down into a very compact roll. This is crucial to having a tight torchon along with making tiny holes in the plastic so air can escape. Let it hang over night and by lunch (or breakfast) the next day you have onc of the best tasting foie gras torchons I have ever tasted.
Slice and serve with toast and your favorite jam. I used home made apricot, amaretto, and vanilla bean jam. Again the pictures don't do it justice and I could have made a beautiful dish using a cookie cutter to make a perfect round but I wanted to concentrate more on the technique and the torchon then garnishes of the plate.
Keep in a cryovac to prevent oxidation. Enjoy!
Foie Torchon Revisited
Here is the follow up picture to the same exact recipe. Just a little over a pound of cleaned foie gras, I should have cured this one a tad longer because I didn't give the same amount of time as the original recipe because I was in a rush and that is why the color is a tad darker. Poached it for 8 and 1/2 minutes. Still turned out great and the boss loved it along with a few guests. But just wanted to follow up and share this picture of the second sous vide torchon made right around the time frame of 24 hours. I just cut the torchon in half and opened it up for the picture.