I am still having fun and getting more and more comfortable with my Anova sous-vide gadget. Many recipes tried, some will go un-blogged due to photos that did not turn out well. A lobster tail, for instance, was quite spectacular cooked sous-vide, but the pictures did the recipe no justice whatsoever. I shall re-visit that in the future to share the method in the Bewitching. But here I am today to show you two ways to deal with chicken thighs. The first preparation uses boneless and skinless pieces, a departure from the classic Chicken Cacciatore that I found on this site, great source for sous-vide cooking tips and recipes. Before I share my recipes, I invite you to take a look at this recent post from my friend Maureen, at The Orgasmic Chef. Beautiful caramelized onions, without having to stand by the stove baby-sitting them. She got her sous-vide toy not too long ago, so I guess we are both newbies at this. Sous-vide sisters!
(slightly adapted from SVKitchen)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 can (28.2-ounce) cherry tomatoes (or regular canned tomatoes, coarsely chopped)
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, plus extra for final garnish
4 tablespoons mascarpone
Salt and pepper to taste (about ½ teaspoon each)
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Preheat the water bath to 152°F (67°C).
Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and add the shallot and garlic. Cook until soft and translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes, being careful not to brown. Remove the pan from the heat and add the tomatoes, stirring to combine. Gently stir in the basil and the mascarpone. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool slightly.
When the sauce has cooled, place about a third in a 1-gallon zip-lock bag. Add 3 of the chicken thighs. Add another third of the sauce, the other 3 thighs, and then the remaining sauce. Seal using the water displacement method.
Cook for 2 to 4 hours.
If serving immediately, transfer the chicken and sauce to a oven-proof dish or ramekin large enough to easily hold all the ingredients. Heat a broiler to high. Place the casserole under the broiler for a couple of minutes, watching closely, just to brown the sauce.
to print the recipe, click here
Dinner is served! Chicken sous-vide, spaghetti squash, and roasted asparagus…
And now, for a second method, in which the chicken thighs are cooked with skin and bone-in. As the sous-vide will cook the meat perfectly but leave you with mushy skin, all recipes include a final step to crisp the skin up. If you search the net, you’ll certainly stumble on a recipe by Michael Voltaggio that is described by many as “the best chicken thigh ever”. I tried it, I really did, and the mess it made on my stove left me on the verge of tears. Plus, the whole house smelled like fried chicken for weeks. Ok, for 18 hours. Chicken thighs were not going to meet the Anova gadget for as long as I was in charge of cooking. But, certain ordeals tend to be forgotten as time goes by. Since I really liked the texture of the meat, I decided to give it another try, using a very hot oven for the final step of crisping up the skin. Worked like a charm! The inspiration came from this cookbook by Jason Logsdon, which I own in its Kindle version, but I modified the recipe quite a bit, so I feel ok about sharing it with you. In his version, he crisps the skin on a cast iron pan, evidently, I didn’t.
Neat-freak + Drama-Queen = Cast-Iron-Repudiation
CHICKEN THIGHS WITH ROASTED TOMATO SALSA
(inspired by Sous-Vide Help for the Busy Cook)
for the chicken:
6 chicken thighs, bone-in
salt and pepper to taste
New Mexico chile powder
1 lemon, juiced
for the tomato salsa:
7 Roma tomatoes, very ripe
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
dried thyme, about 1 teaspoon
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Prepare the roasted tomatoes in advance, they will keep for several days. Cut the tomatoes in half, mix them with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast in a 325 F oven for 2 hours. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.
Set your Anova or other sous-vide apparatus at 148 F. Remove excess skin and fat from the chicken thighs. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle chile powder, and squeeze a little lemon juice over the flesh. Place inside plastic bags and vacuum-seal, three pieces of chicken per bag. Place in the water-bath and cook for a minimum of 2 hours. I like to cook chicken thighs for 5 to 6 hours.
Turn your oven to 450 F. Remove the chicken pieces from the bags, pat dry. Place in a baking dish and roast until the skin is brown and crispy to your liking. You can also run them under the broiler for a few minutes if you prefer. As the chicken roasts, transfer the previously prepared tomatoes to a skillet, cook for a couple of minutes, add the vinegar, brown sugar, and adjust the seasoning. Mash the tomatoes lightly with a potato masher or a fork if you like it chunky. You can also transfer to a blender or food processor, if so inclined. I prefer my salsa to be on the chunky side.
Serve the crisped up chicken pieces with the salsa alongside.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: So as I promised, here you have two completely different takes on the same type of meat using the Anova sous-vide. If you want to enjoy a saucy, stew-type meal, go for boneless chicken thighs, cooking them in liquid from the beginning. Obviously, in this case you’ll need to use the water displacement method, as vacuum won’t be feasible. If crispy skin is more what you are looking forward to, season the pieces with dry rubs, and use your oven in the end. The meat will be perfectly tender, very moist, and the skin super crispy.
Dinner is served! Chicken sous-vide, cauliflower-spinach puree, and a salad…
I highly recommend Jason Logsdon’s book “Sous-Vide Help for the Busy Cook”. The recipes are all geared for people who work all day and want to maximize the use of sous-vide to get a nice meal at dinner time. The main advantage of this cooking method is the flexibility of timing: if you are late to arrive home from work, no problem, two or three more hours at the target temperature will not affect your dish. Seafood is a bit more delicate and you should probably save that for weekends or weeknights in which you have a couple of hours to devote to dinner preparation.
I cannot resist including this photo of my oven-roasted tomatoes, they were absolutely delicious, with intense flavor, but not the unpleasant texture I find in most commercially available sun-dried tomatoes. In Jason’s recipe, he uses a quicker method to deal with the tomatoes, so if you are at all interested, stop by amazon.com and click away! ;-)
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