If you are interested in sous-vide cooking, chances are you either own or have heard of the book Under Pressure: Cooking Sous-vide, by Thomas Keller (a dear friend gave me a copy, am I lucky or what?). When it comes to sous-vide, the outcome is all about the combination of temperature and time in the water bath, and Keller’s book is an amazing source of information to get you going. I have already shared in the blog a few recipes for chicken thighs sous-vide that relied on the temperature that Thomas Keller recommends, around 150 F. They turned out delicious, with homogeneously cooked meat, and good flavor. But they lacked a quality I happen to love in this type of meat: the falling off the bone tenderness. I browsed around cooking forums, but found no specific advice to help me out. Then I stumbled more or less by accident into this article and decided to re-visit the issue. Basically, the article states that a temperature of 150 F will produce very juicy chicken, but with a firm texture. If you increase the temperature to 165 F, your outcome will depend on the time of cooking, going from tender (1 to 4 hours) to “falling off the bone tender” (4 to 8 hours). I decided to try the combination of 168 F for 5 hours. Results? Oh Em Gee perfection! Exactly what I’ve been hoping for. You should have seen me doing the Happy Chicken Thigh Dance. Wait, maybe not. Some things are better staying in the privacy of a home. So, with apologies to Mr. Keller, I dare say that I prefer my tweaked version, a drastic departure from his. If you don’t own a sous-vide gadget, no need to worry, I give you the specifics to make it in a regular oven too.
ORANGE-SOY CHICKEN THIGHS
(sous-vide or regular oven)
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)
8 chicken thighs
1/2 cup soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
zest and juice of a large orange
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp grated ginger
salt and black pepper to taste
Make a marinade whisking well all the ingredients. Add the pieces of chicken to a large bag, pour the marinade over and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours, or at room temperature for 30 minutes.
If cooking sous-vide:
Remove the chicken from the marinade (save the marinade in the fridge), vacuum-seal four pieces in each of two bags. Place the bags in a water-bath set to 168 F for 5 hours. Close to the end of cooking time, place the reserved marinade in a small pan and cook it over medium-high heat for a few minutes to reduce it slightly. Remove the chicken pieces from the bag, place over a roasting pan, and brush the skin with the reduced marinade. Add a little more salt if you like. Place the pieces under the broiler and roast until dark and crispy.
If cooking in a regular oven:
Place the chicken pieces skin down in a roasting pan with enough marinade all over to keep them moist during roasting. Season lightly with more salt if you like (we do). Cover with aluminum foil and roast at 325 F for 1 hour. Remove the foil, turn the pieces over and finish roasting at 425F until the skin is crispy.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: What I like the most about sous-vide cooking is how forgiving it is in terms of timing. Take this recipe, for instance, if you set it up at lunch time but do not expect to be home until 6 hours later, no problem. One hour more, two hours more won’t affect the outcome. Some say that the crock pot behaves the same way, but I don’t think so. Poultry can develop a sort of chalky texture when sitting in a slow-cooker past a certain point.
We enjoyed the chicken thighs with the salad I blogged about not too long ago. I simply do not get tired of it, it is perfect! If you haven’t yet tried the combination of roasted carrots with avocados, don’t wait for too long…
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