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)
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, plus extra for final garnish
4 tablespoons mascarpone
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
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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34 thoughts on “COOKING SOUS-VIDE: TWO TAKES ON CHICKEN THIGHS”
Both dishes sound very good, Sally, though I think I’d favor the latter with the crispy skin more to my liking. It really doesn’t matter, though, being I’ve no sous-vide capabilities at the present time. That will have to wait until I re-organize my kitchen and clear some counter space. In the meantime, I’ll continue to read your – and others — sous-vde recipes, drooling as I do so. 🙂
That’s the thing, John, with this Anova gadget there is no need for counter space – it sits in a drawer or a shelf, pretty small and easy to put away. Once you need to use it, a large stock type pan is all you’ll need, although if you get seriously into sous vide, a very large heavy duty plastic bin will come in handy for pieces such as ribs, brisket etc. Just something to consider… 😉
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I haven’t been disappointed with any of the goodies I’ve made in my sous vide machine. I don’t use it all that often because it sits in the storage room on the shelf. I just don’t have room for it so out of sight, out of mind. I’m dying to try the sous vide chicken thighs.
You are truly my sister from different parents. 🙂
I agree with you, out of sight out of mind, but I’ve been making a point to get it out to play every couple of weeks – I made t-bone steak twice with the sous-vide, comparing with the regular grilling method, and we really loved the results – my pictures did not turn out very good, though – so another example of a recipe that I need to make again “for the blog”
that’s where our paths diverge – you got the genes for good photography, and I got the ones that cannot snap a good shot to save my life… (sigh, sigh, sigh)
sister from a different mister (Mr.) LOL
I know quite well the feeling when you make something super yummy but in the pictures it looks so yucky. It’s so frustrating…
That chicken cacciatore sure looks good though. Although I’m a little surprised that there’s mascarpone in it…how that works?
the mascarpone worked pretty well – I was also a bit puzzled by the name cacciatore, and thought I would get some remarks about “well, that’s not REAL cacciatore, is it?” – but, that’s the title of the recipe as published on the site, and I went with it, of course… 🙂
I think the idea behind using mascarpone is to make it super creamy – but for a leaner dish, I can see you could omit it
The chicken all looks delicious but sous-vide cooking isn’t going to be taking place in my kitchen any time soon. I’m too lazy to start learning new cooking techniques at this stage of my life. 🙂
You know, if it’s not going to be fun, no point in doing it, right? I like a new toy, but only if I’m going to have real fun with it. I work hard enough in my day job 😉
Both of these recipes look worth trying, yum!
Glad you liked them!
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Delicious. I love roasted tomatoes, the flavour is hard to beat.
Awesome dishes, Sally….you are my new sous-vide maven!
A maven! Wow, you made my day!!!!
[biggest smile] I read about sous-vide on quite a few blogs I so like and honestly do try to get interested and then wonder ‘why’ . . . . perhaps the food is softer a tad and stays more rare but personally, for me, it would be a tradeoff twixt space, money, extra time and, as a nutritionist, a wonder whether food sitting in a bath for lengthy periods really does not lose some of its nutritional value – spoilsport I know and I DO hope you’ll forgive my honesty but methinks I’ll just keep on reading about all of you having fun with your ‘toy’ and buy a pile of books and DVDs for the money instead 😀 !!
Lots of people agree with you, so you don’t need to apologize at all! As to losing the nutrients, I doubt it. The water never gets in touch with the food, it is just a temperature equilibration, and since the cooking reaches only the optimal level for each protein or “stuff”, you won’t lose anything that normal cooking would not lose too. Gosh, what a horrible phrase… I hope you get my meaning, I am – as often – in a bit of a hurry 😉
but if you are not into sous-vide, you can still adapt these recipes, and do try the roasted tomato salsa…. I am still salivating thinking about it
I most decidedly shall . . . and ‘thank you’ for not being cross 🙂 ! I have one dear sous-vide driven virtual friend whose post I simply quietly close if ‘sous-vide’ is on the menu!!
I don’t have the ability to cook sous-vide; however, I am super excited to pair chicken cacciatore with spaghetti squash. What a fabulous idea Sally. I have the squash and the chicken, so guess what’s going onto our menu this weekend!!! 🙂
Yes, I tend to lighten up some classics by switching high caloric sides for something a bit more “figure friendly” – hey, every little bit counts, as long as flavor and deliciousness is preserved 😉
This dish sounds delicious and I just love the photo of the tomatoes. Made me want to rush into the kitchen and get roasting!
Yessss! Those tomatoes were incredible!
Chicken CACCIATORE is one of our favorite ways to enjoy thighs. I’ll have to try the roasted tomato salad next. It looks so amazing!
Love chicken cacciatore too… comfort food at its best!
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I’ve got the Sansaire sous vide and love it. It sits on my counter taking up a walloping 3″ x 3″ area. It looks stylish too. But the food is what counts and it does a great job. Everything from steaks, fish, eggs, turkey, to chicken is fabulous. It elevates everything you know about the taste and texture of food. No exaggeration. I’m not some great cook or foodie. I just like to experiment and the finishing of food is part of the process. This has transformed cooking for me. I still need to work on vegetables though get them right.
I don’t have that much extra counter space, so for me the Anova is a better option, but I admire how stylish the Sansaire looks, I am sure it makes your kitchen look amazing!
Like you, I need to work on vegetables, that is something I haven’t even tried yet.
It really looks lovely and I think I might try it but I’m not sure that it’s really ‘cacciatore’, because the chicken isn’t cooked in the tomatoes. It’s more sous vide chicken with a tomato sauce topping. I know from many years of making cacciatore that it’s the transfer and penetration of the sauce into the chicken during braising that’s really wonderful. So, I’m wondering about using the tomatoes in the sous vide to see how that would be in terms of imparting their flavor to the meat. Might make searing an odd challenge, but to me, it isn’t cacciatore without the tomatoes flavoring the meat.
Others might see it differently. Beautiful dish.
I am surprised you were the only one to complain about the name of the dish… 😉 At first I wanted to say something about it, feeling that the “cacciatore” was a bit stretch of the traditional method. But, I decided to let it slide… I agree with you, though. It is a nice recipe, but quite a departure.
Now, I think the sous vide imparts quite a bit of flavor – in fact, I’ve been using the method and to me, particularly with chicken thighs and breasts, using sauce in the bag with the water displacement method works much better than sealing and cooking it “dryish”
I like the texture of the meat falling off the bone, but I must say I haven’t quite hit that with the sous vide – I need more takes with different temperature and times…. so many recipes, so little time! 😉
I just made this recipe and it was delicious! Is there anyway I could cook the chicken thighs with the sous vide and hold them to cook later? I am cooking a dinner party and need about an hour in between time to do the last cooking step of crisping the skin.
Hello there! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Well, I would like to tell you with 100% certainty that it will work, but I haven’t done it. HOwever, every single source of sous-vide recipes I read tells me that it’s totally ok to do the first step (sous-vide), save it for later and finish the cosmetic browning, either on the grill or in a hot pan
the way I see it, since the browning would happen so fast, it could be a problem to heat uniformly larger pieces of meat – chicken thighs could work, I suppose. Maybe taking them out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes to bring the meat to room temperature inside? then searing or grilling. Worth experimenting with. If you could to a test-drive before your party, maybe it could be a good idea. ANd, if you do, please let me know your findings…. I would love a tried and true take on it…
thanks for stopping by! 😉
IMHO, the do sousVide ahead and then chill down and do the whole browing and service later would require maybe bringing the food back up to the correct (or just a little less than that) temperature with the sousVide again near the time of service and THEN just quickly sear/brown/fry. Otherwise room temp too long might be dangerous and even if you did….the outside would be hot and delicious, but the innards = not so much and maybe not tasting so good when the middle is just lukewarm?
Definitely agree with you on this – I think that if the food will be refrigerated, it must be brought to the sous-vide final temperature for long enough time to equilibrate that temperature all the way through – so it kind of defeats the purpose of making it “easier” –
I rather do the sous-vide and proceed with the final step right away – the exception is duck confit, which both times I made, I refrigerated to make it easier for my dinner party – but then I used the oven to re-heat and crisp the skin
I will be investigating your recipes, I got a sous vide machine for my birthday. So far I have only cooked eggs but intend to experiment. Thanks for the suggestions.