Fully Rendered Foie

Foie gras after a stint in a combi oven

So a few weeks ago I totaled a gorgeous hunk of foie gras while attempting to make WD-50’s famous Knot Foie.  I failed the first step – making a traditional foie gras terrine, and then in my second step – trying to make my leftover foie stretchy to make a knot.  I referenced my copy of Larousse Gastronomique, the CIA’s The Professional Chef and the Internet to make sure my first attempt at a foie gras terrine was the right one.  But I decided in order to get the exact internal temperature, I should use my combi oven.

I checked to see if there was anything online concerning cooking foie in a combi oven, and the closest I found was a thread on eGullet from 2005 on cooking foie sous vide.  Leading the conversation was, naturally, Nathan Myhrvold.  The thread didn’t seem to indicate there would be any issues. So I changed up the recipe and slow cooked my terrine until it hit around 138F internally.

About 70% of my foie gras turned to liquid.  The recipe said there would be a small layer – mine was pretty much all oil!  I tried to pour it off and tamp down the remaining solids but it just failed big time.  What went wrong?

I spoke with Chef Brian McCracken of Spur one night and told him what happened.  He said that what I needed to do was throw the whole thing in the Vitamix and pour it back into the terrine.  The usual next step – pour off the small layer of oil on top of the terrine – was uneccessary because the slow cooking liquidfied the thing.  Just mix it back up and continue on.

Eric called this a double fail: not only did I screw up the terrine, but I was doing it right, then blew it.  Then Eric texted me this photo:

Foie Knot In Modernist Cuisine

Oh, look.  WD-50’s Knot Foie.  In Modernist Cuisine.  I didn’t check Modernist Cuisine. Triple fail.

Had I checked it, I would have read things like

11. Reserve 50g of fat
12. Puree cooked foie gras


Konjac gum (Ticagel Konjac HV-D, TIC Gums brand)

I had tried using Glucomannan flour on the remaining foie I had as my konjac gum.  The result was goop instead of stretchy goodness.

So a good lesson learned: if attempting to do a modern cooking technique to a traditional dish, maybe try checking Modernist Cuisine first.  Yeah.