Sous vide Chicken Breast with Herbes de Provence

Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (14 of 14)

Thanks to sous vide cooking, no longer do you have to tolerate bland and tough chicken breasts.

Chicken breasts are the classic lean muscle-building protein. But don’t get stuck in the routine of pan-frying the breasts, which often results in producing a tough, bland and dry texture.

Tonight, I was feeling rather experimental and had some time to spare. Consequently, I opted to cook chicken breast sous vide style. All it requires is extreme “hands off” patience.

The secret to perfect chicken? Temperature control. The kind of down-to-the-degree type of control that sous vide cooking can attain.

If we’re to believe what our parents told us, chicken should be cooked to a temperature of 165°F; anything below 140°F then you tread into the “danger” zone, the temperature zone in which bacteria supposedly thrives. The ideal temperature for cooking chicken rests between 140-145°F. Once you get pass the 155°F mark, sous-vide chicken starts to take on an unpleasant chalky, tacky texture.

I set up the dial on my Anova precision cooker to 60°C/140°F. Chicken cooked at 140°F has a very tender, extremely juicy texture that is firm and completely opaque. No signs of stringiness or tackiness. It melts between your teeth. At two hours the chicken has a nice resilient chew to it, while retaining its juiciness.

The problem with traditionally cooked chicken is that the meat is penetrated by higher heat from the outside in, making it very difficult to gauge exactly what temperature it is from the edges to the centre. Common sense dictates that we often overcook the outer layers inevitably, leading to that all too familiar dry and stringy texture. Sous vide cooking allows one to control precisely the temperature at which one desires to serve them eat. This effectively means that by the time we’re done, the chicken is cooked perfectly from edge to centre without compromising on its juiciness.

The results? The chicken breast is tender enough to cut with a butter knife and glistens with flavourful juices.

Sous vide chicken with herbes de Provence (1 of 1).jpg

Not your ordinary bland and dry chicken breast.

Sous vide Chicken with Herbes de Provence

INACTIVE TIME: 2 hours | ACTIVE TIME: 4 minutes | SERVES: 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • One chicken breast (palm size)
  • 1 tablespoon of herbes de Provence.
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (9 of 14)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat precision cooker to 140°F/60°C. Allow the water bath to come to the right temperature before dowsing your chicken in the bag inside.Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (7 of 14)
  2. Season the chicken breast with a coating of olive oil followed by the herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Bag the chicken in zip lock bag or vacuum bag (if using).Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (3 of 14)Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (5 of 14)
  3. Immerse the chicken in the bag into the water bath. It should sink. Set timer to 2 hours. Feel free to run some errands, go for a jog, or take a shower while the chicken is cooking (this is what I mean by “hands-free” cooking).Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (8 of 14)
  4. Once time is up, pre-heat a cast iron pan or skillet on medium-high heat, coated with a thin layer of oil. Remove chicken breast from zip lock bag and pat dry. Once oil starts to shimmer, place chicken breast on the pan and hold down flat with a spatula to ensure maximum contact between chicken breast and pan. Pan-fry for 2 minutes on each side to produce a beautiful brown and crisp sear.Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (9 of 14)
  5. Once seared, remove chicken from pan and slice to serve. Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (10 of 14)Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (12 of 14)
Advertisements

Sous Vide Steak

Sous Vide Steak (3 of 19)

First time experimenting with the Anova sous vide and decided I’ll test it out by making a rib eye steak, courtesy of Farmers Kitchen. Naturally farmed and grass fed, the Black Angus Beef comes from the far south eastern corner of Australia.  The meat can be ordered online, and comes chilled (never been frozen before) in a vacuum sealed pack.

So what exactly is Sous vide? Simply put, “Sous vide” is French for “under vacuum” and refers to the process of vacuum-sealing food and cooking it in temperature controlled water bath. However, that’s a bit of a misnomer. You don’t need to vacuum seal your food to cook sous vide. Instead, this technique is really about bringing food to a very precise temperature and holding it there for a period of time, which is why some people refer to the technique as “precision cooking.”

So why should one opt for the “sous vide” method of cooking?

If you are tired of overcooking your fish, chicken or steak then sous vide could be the right solution for you. After all, the most obvious benefit of sous vide cooking is that you can prepare perfectly cooked food every time you step into the kitchen — all with very little effort.

But that’s not the only reason to cook sous vide. The gentle, oxygen-free cooking environment helps to retain your foods’ valuable nutrients. Plus, foods cooked in a vacuum-sealed bag are far more shelf stable than those cooked on the stovetop — this means you can cook countless meals ahead of time without worrying about your dinner spoiling.

Another benefit? When cooking sous vide, proteins like chicken and pork can be served at lower temperatures than when following traditional cooking methods. The increased minimum cook time for the sous vide cooking process essentially pasteurizes the meat, which means that medium-rare pork chops and subtly pink chicken are perfectly safe to eat.Sous Vide Steak (2 of 19)

Even better — sous vide cooking is truly a “set it and forget it” method of cooking. Seal your food, place it in your water bath, and walk away. Since the water bath will never get above the desired temperature, the food will never exceed your preferred level of doneness. What does this mean? You can throw dinner parties with ease — that juicy ribeye or pork tenderloin can be made hours ahead of time and finished right before serving, leaving you plenty of time to socialize with your guests.

Sous Vide Steak

INACTIVE TIME: 45 minutes | ACTIVE TIME: 2 minutes | SERVES: 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 300g sirloin steak (feel free to choose the “cut” of your choice)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used some “Salt with Attitude”, thanks to the kind compliments of Farmers Kitchen)

Sous Vide Steak (19 of 19)Sous Vide Steak (7 of 19)

 

METHOD:

  1. Place sous vide immersion circulator into a pot of water and adjust temperature to 57°C for steak down medium (assuming steak is roughly 1 inch thick).
  2. Drop the steak inside a vacuum sealed bag or zip lock bag.Sous Vide Steak (17 of 19)
  3. Once water reaches the desired temperature, use the water dispersion method to remove air from the zip lock bag and clip bag onto the side of the pot.  Set timer for 45 minutes.Sous Vide Steak (14 of 19)
  4. Once 45 minutes is over, heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan on high heat. Remove steak from ziplock bag and sear both sides – roughly 1 minute each side – to get a nice crusty exterior.Sous Vide Steak (12 of 19)Sous Vide Steak (11 of 19)Sous Vide Steak (10 of 19)
  5. Remember to gently sear the sides of the steak too (~30 seconds) on the hot pan too.Sous Vide Steak (9 of 19)
  6. Layer steak on a plate. Allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes before consuming. To serve, sprinkle some salt to taste. Here, I used Salt with Attitude thanks to courtesy of Farmers Kitchen.  Sous Vide Steak (5 of 19)Sous Vide Steak (8 of 19)Sous Vide Steak (6 of 19)