Sous Vide Chicken Breast

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for new kitchen gadgets and cooking techniques. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. One technique that’s been getting a lot of airtime recently is sous vide, or water bath cooking. But while it seems like a bit of a fad, sous vide has been in use for over 200 years and in serious use for 50 years. 

Sous vide means “under vacuum” in French and is a straightforward and effective way of cooking poultry, meat, and fish that ends up succulent, most, and most of all, correctly cooked*. And with sous vide circulators these days going for under $200US there’s no reason to not give it a try. I did recently with some chicken breast and it was the best chicken breast I’ve ever tasted. 

So you will need to get your hands on a sous vide circulator (I use the clip on Sans Aire) and a vacuum sealer, such as a FoodSaver. As usual, I went over the top recently and installed an Irinox chamber sealer but it’s completely not necessary for this recipe. 

You’ll need:

  • 2 chicken breasts on the bone
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Pre-heat the water via the circulator to 66C.

Rinse the chicken under cold water. Season the skin with salt and pepper and place a slice of lemon on each breast. Vacuum pack the breasts individually – make sure to roll the edges of the bag down before you drop the chicken in to ensure there is nothing preventing a good seal and to avoid contamination. 

Drop the chicken into the water bath and cook for one hour.  Toward the end of an hour heat a skillet or fry pan on medium/high heat with the canola oil. 

Remove the chicken from the water bath and take out of the vacuum bags. Pat dry and then place skin down in the skillet. Press the breast against the edge of the pan to get good contact and fry until brown (2-3 minutes, usually). 

Take the chicken out of the pan and lay on a cutting board to rest. With your hands, simply remove the breast from the bone (this should happen very easily). Cut the breast into slices on a diagonal bias and then serve with the olive oil.

Seriously, look at how moist this chicken breast is! This is after resting and slicing...

See, sous vide isn’t that complicated! And you’ll never look at chicken shop chicken the same ever again. Enjoy!

* Sous vide can go wrong if you don’t follow precise times and temperatures. You can also get people sick. I recommend you do some research before you do serious sous vide cooking. My recipe here is simple and hard to mess up but you’re on your own – I take no responsibility for your outcomes.

Slow Cooked Potato with Goat Curd and Tarragon Flowers

Back in February we visited Attica for the first time and it was an amazing experience. In the 2012 restaurant rankings they were number 63 in the world. Since then, they have rocketed up to number 21 in the world and they certainly deserve it.

Last week Amazon finally delivered the new book, Origin, from Attica's head chef Ben Shewry. One of the dishes we really enjoyed was the dish, "Potato Cooked In The Earth In Which It Was Grown" and I was pleasantly surprised to see it in the Origin book! So with my new sous vide unit in hand I tried a new riff on his amazing recipe.

Transient

Now, if you don't have a sous vide machine you simply need to use a pot of water and monitor the temperature throughout the cooking process. And instead of vacuum sealing the potato you can simply add it to a Ziploc bag and gradually remove all the air in the bag before sealing. 

To make this dish you'll need (Thomas Dux carries some of the specialty ingredients):

  • 2 small oval potatoes (Kipfler work well)
  • 1 bunch of tarragon with flowers
  • 4 tsp duck fat
  • pinch of mountain pepper (from Herbie's spices) 
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp goat's curd
  • pinch of smoked paprika

Peel the potatoes and add them individually to a vacuum bag with five tarragon leaves, 2 tsp of duck fat, and the salt and pepper. Then seal and add to an 85C degree water bath for 90 mins. 

Just before removing the potatoes from the water place a tablespoon of goat's curd in the centre of a plate and sprinkle with paprika and some more mountain pepper. Place the potato in the middle and scatter the tarragon flowers. Enjoy!