Sous Vide Chicken Breast – A True Delicacy Indeed
Sous vide, which translates to “under vacuum” in French, is a style of cooking in which meat is vacuum-sealed and submerged in temperature-controlled water for a long period of time. Cooking meat at a lower temperature for a longer time produces a tender, flavorful finished product, mainly because the meat’s juices are sealed in.
This method of cooking is particularly effective for cooking chicken breasts. Everyone has had stringy, overcooked chicken, and salmonella fears often force chefs to cook chicken to a whopping internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Chicken cooked sous vide can be cooked to an internal temperature as low as 140 or 145 degrees Fahrenheit, because it is being heated for such a long time. This produces a perfect, juicy breast every time!
Basic Steps for Sous Vide Cooking
For the best results, cooks should use a sous vide precision cooker and vacuum-sealable plastic bags. These products ensure that the temperature of the water can be easily controlled to within 1 degree, and no air will enter the plastic bag as the chicken is cooking. To begin, take the raw chicken breast out of its packaging and season it with salt and pepper. Put the chicken into the vacuum sealed bags and seal them tightly, creating an airless vacuum around the chicken.
Next, place the bag into the preheated precision cooker. The timing is different depending on what type of chicken breast you would like to end up with, but a good rule of thumb is to cook the chicken for no less than 1.5 hours and no more than 4. Any amount of time between those two poles will suffice.
When the chicken is almost finished, preheat a frying pan on the stovetop to medium heat. Pour a dollop of oil in, and wait until it is shimmering. Take the chicken out of the precision cooker, remove it from the bag, and place it on the skillet. When one side is seared golden brown, usually after about 3 minutes, take the chicken off of the pan. It is ready to serve!
Variations on the Recipe
There are many different things that chefs do to spice up their sous vide dishes. Many chefs put spices or aromatics, such as lemons or thyme, into the bag to make the flavor of the chicken more complex. They also may finish the chicken on the grill rather than on a pan. The same rules apply: sear one side of the chicken over medium heat, until the skin is golden brown.
This style of cooking can be used for both boned and boneless breasts. Cooking bone-in chicken breast simply requires a few extra steps. After removing the chicken from the precision cooker and the bag, remove the breast bone and the wishbone from the breast. They should simply snap off in your fingers.
Sous vide cooking is the best way to cook meat exactly how you like it. If you won’t eat another dry, tasteless chicken breast, give sous vide a try in your kitchen.