Sous Vide is a relatively newer technique of cooking that is gaining popularity in high-end kitchens all over the world. It was invented to provide the perfect temperature for cooking meats, ensuring that it doesn't get over or undercooked, and it promises perfect moistness.
Now, false claims say that you can set it and forget it, I wouldn't recommend this. Even though Sous Vide is a promising technology, it is not fool-proof. It is fairly easy, I'll admit.
Step 1: Ingredients
Aside from your Sous Vide machine and a vessel for water, which can easily be acquired at many online marketplaces and homegood stores, you will need:
- Chicken Breast, I used one pound
- Fresh Herbs, I used Rosemary and Thyme
- Olive Oil
Additionally, you will need air tight bags large enough to hold your chicken breast. If you have oversized bags, lay your chicken side by side. I used smaller bags (Ziploc quart sized) and placed one chicken breast in each bag.
Step 2: Water
Fill a large container with water. I have seen some people use kitchen plastics, and some people use metal. I used a large pot that I would generally boil crab in. The water should be about mid level, enough to interact with your sous vide (there will be a lable on the side of the machine saying the water is at an adequate level) but not so high that you risk spilling burning water. You can also choose to place your vessel in the kitchen sink to avoid spills and burns.
Step 3: Prepare Herbs
A wonderful thing about sous vide is that you don't need to worry about chopping all your herbs. I simply sliced up my garlic, the other herbs may stay on the stem, and can infuse flavor through the oil in the next step.
Step 4: Fill Bags
You will want to put a generous portion of extra virgin olive oil, or another mild oil, into one of your bags. Add your herbs and garlic. Give a little shake to oil the sides of the bag and mix the herbs. Place your chicken into the bag.
It is very important that you release all the air from your bag before sealing it, to ensure that your protein cooks appropriately. Some chefs vacuum seal their ingredients, but a simple storage bag is acceptable for the home chef.
Now, you can choose to leave this in the fridge for whenever you want to start your sous vide machine, or have this done right before you decide to cook. Keep in mind that sous vide cooking is fairly slow going, if you are cooking for guests you may want to prepare in advance.
You can also prepare bags and store them in the freezer, then thaw them before you want to use your sous vide machine.
Step 5: Set the Machine
Set your machine. Mine has a little slide on the side to direct to the appropriate temperature, but some machines have buttons.
The ideal cooking temperature for chicken is from 140 to 141.8, I have set mine in between.
You can set your timer in the same manner, the optimal time for a tender chicken breast is approximately one hour. The machine will start when you press "play". Wait until you clip your bags, and then press play.
Step 6: Clip
Clip your bags to the sides of the machine, so you can remove them from the hot water with ease. Do not have your bag touch the machine itself. Press play.
I did the rest of my meal prep while the chicken was going. My chicken was served with mashed sweet potatoes and sauteed spinach as a healthy weeknight meal. I topped it with a pinch of a cranberry dressing. I did not include this process but if you are interested in these recipes please let me know and I will be happy to post them.
Step 7: Remove Bags and Sear
Once the timer is up, remove your bags. Your chicken will be well cooked but you will notice that it isn't particularly beautiful, more a bland white. Heat up a pan or skillet, and empty the contents of your bags, get a sear on your chicken. This is a short process and will not overcook the chicken, it is merely for texture and appearance and can be skipped if you prefer.
I probably could've let mine sear a bit longer for appearances but the flavor was still good.
Step 8: Serve
Serve and enjoy.
Sous Vide is a very easy process that yields wonderful results, despite it sounding somewhat intimidating. I hope you enjoy this recipe and process. :)