KALE AND PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED CHICKEN BREASTS

Are you going to run away if I tell you this is a sous-vide recipe? No need, because you can make it on the stove. It will just require a little more hands-on attention so that the meat ends up properly cooked and still tender and juicy. With the sous-vide you can set it, forget it, and concentrate on making your side-dish, as the final preparation of the chicken takes literally minutes.

KALE AND PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED CHICKEN BREASTS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

4 chicken breasts
kale leaves, tough stems removed
prosciutto slices
lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Set the sous-vide to 148F.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, rub a bit of lemon juice all over them. Wrap with kale leaves, then with prosciutto slices.  If using the sous-vide, no need to worry too much about wrapping it all tightly because it will firm up as you seal the packages.  If not using sous-vide, try to wrap as tightly and neatly as possible.

Seal the pieces of in a vacuum-bag and submerge in the water-bath for 2 hours (up to 4 hours will be ok). When the time is up, remove the chicken pieces from the bag, dry them well and sautee quickly both sides in olive oil, preferably using a non-stick skillet. Let it cool briefly and slice to serve.

If not using sous-vide, sear both sides of the chicken in olive oil, also using a non-stick skillet. When both sides are golden brown, add a little chicken stock to the pan, a squirt of lemon juice, reduce heat to a simmer, cover the skillet. Cook until the chicken is done to your liking, it will probably take around 15 minutes.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Sous-vide does such a fantastic job for tender meats like chicken breast, and pork tenderloin, it’s truly hard to beat this method of cooking. I sometimes cook a few chicken breasts seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and keep it in the fridge, still vacuum-sealed in the bag. They are ready to use in stir-fries, or curries, anything you feel like it. The first time I made this recipe, I wrapped the kale outside of half of the pieces. It also works, but I prefer the prosciutto outside, it gets a nice texture once you brown it. This recipe is now part of our regular rotation, husband refers to it as “that prosciutto chicken.”  We both loved it!

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WHOLE CHICKEN SOUS-VIDE

No sous-vide? You can still make this recipe using a regular oven, very low and slow for the first part of cooking and then brush with the final glaze and roast under the broiler. But the texture you get from sous-vide is hard to beat. I just rubbed it with dry spices and sealed in the bag. Although on my first time I cooked a whole chicken inside the bag, I found it easier the way I share today. I cut the chicken in four pieces (two breast/wing, and two full legs, placing two pieces in a single bag. Works great and the final presentation is better than keeping it whole or even spatchcocking.

WHOLE SOUS-VIDE CHICKEN
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 whole chicken, cut in four pieces
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoons ground black pepper
for final roasting:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tsp agave nectar (or honey)
squirt of lemon juice

Pat chicken dry.  Rub the skin with the mixture of spices. Place in bag and seal.

Heat sous-vide to 150 F. Cook chicken for 6 hours.

Whisk all ingredients for the roasting step. Once the chicken is done, remove from the water bath and transfer it onto a plate. Pat with paper towels.  Place on a roasting pan. Brush the skin with the olive oil mixture, run under the broiler until the skin is cooked to your liking.  The meat will be tender and juicy.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: As usual, the timing with sous-vide is very forgiving, which is one of the reasons I love it. If you need to leave it longer than 6 hours, no harm done. You can change the spices to take this recipe in any direction you like. Gochujang will be happening soon in our kitchen.

We enjoyed it with sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Almonds, and a little couscous with roasted butternut squash (full disclosure: the squash was leftover from a previous meal).

The leftover meat can be pulled from the bone and used in many different preparations, we usually save it for a couple of days and then the husband turns it into chicken fajitas or tacos. It has such perfect texture, all it needs is a brief encounter with a hot skillet, some lemon juice and additional spices, if so desired.

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WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU EYE-OF-THE-ROUND

Make it play the tenderloin role! I am over the moon with this preparation, sous-vide turns a very cheap and often neglected cut of meat into Dinner Royalty. There are other methods to achieve the same outcome. America’s Test Kitchen uses a very low oven and careful monitoring of the temperature in the center of the meat using a probe thermometer that stays inside throughout the cooking time. I made their version before attempting this one. What I dislike about their recipe (sorry, ATK), is that you just don’t know how long it is going to take, so dinner plans get a bit iffy. With this method, no worries. Set the temperature, place the meat in the water-bath, and you can finish it in mere minutes on the stove top. Brilliant, just brilliant.

EYE OF THE ROUND SOUS-VIDE
(adapted from Anova Culinary)

3lbs eye of round beef roast
1/3 cup mustard
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1.5 Tbsp black pepper
1.5 Tbsp kosher salt

Set a water bath to 131F.

Season beef liberally with salt and pepper. Cover beef with yellow mustard massaging it well all over the surface.

Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat with 1Tbsp vegetable oil.
Once pan is hot, sear beef on all sides until golden brown. Remove from pan, place in a bag suitable for sous-vide cooking. You can seal using vacuum or use water displacement. Place in water bath, cook for 24 hours.

Remove meat from bag, and heat a cast iron pan on medium-high with 1 tablespoon oil. Once hot, quickly sear beef on each side until golden brown (about 1 minute per side). Once done, place on a plate to rest for a few minutes.

Slice the beef into 1/2 inch slices.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: In the original recipe at Anova, they include additional steps for making a sauce. I was not interested in making it that particular evening, so I kept it super simple. But please check their site, it is a wonderful way to serve it.


We enjoyed it with air-fried small potatoes, and broccoli puree. Leftovers were my lunch for three days in a row, just briefly warmed over a non-stick pan with a touch of olive oil. If you enjoy roast beef served cold in sandwiches, just make sure to slice whatever is left very thinly, if you have an electric knife (I don’t) put it to use.

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30-HOUR LEG OF LAMB WITH MASHED SWEET POTATOES

Let me just say upfront, the pictures do not do justice to how tasty this meal turned out. Ideally, this would be prepared using lamb shoulder, but it is very hard to find. So I used the upper part of the leg, boneless, tied with a net to keep its overall shape. You have two options for leg of lamb: cooking it rare to medium-rare (more traditional), or cooking a lot longer, so that the meat pretty much falls off the bone (when there’s a bone).  I wanted to make it sous-vide, but while doing some research, found a wide range of temperature and cooking time listed in cookbooks and websites.  After hyperventilating about it for a while, I settled on 30 hours at 160 F. I am thrilled to report that it was a successful experiment. If you don’t have a sous-vide gadget, please see my comments after the recipe.

30-HOUR LEG OF LAMB WITH MASHED SWEET POTATOES
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 boneless leg of lamb, butterflied and tied (2.5 to 3.0 pounds)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
4 tablespoons mustard powder
2 tsp ground black pepper
5 sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in large chunks
1 + 3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I used Aleppo pepper)
1/2 tsp Southwest Seasoning mix (I used Penzey’s)
3/4 cup light coconut milk
fresh parsley, minced (to taste)

Set your sous-vide to 160 F.  Mix the salt, pepper and mustard together in a small bowl. Pat the meat dry and season all over with the spice mixture. Place inside a bag and vacuum-seal it.  Place in the water-bath and cook for 30 hours. Cover the container with aluminum foil and check for water evaporation over that period of time.  When 30 hours passed, remove the meat from the bag, and run under a broiler to get a nice brown roasted appearance to it.  Serve immediately, the meat should be falling apart when you probe it with a fork.

For the mashed potatoes. Place the potatoes, water and seasonings in a crock pot. Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Warm the coconut milk in a microwave (do not boil), add to the potatoes in the crock pot, and mash with a potato masher to the consistency you prefer. Add minced parsley, adjust seasoning, and serve with the lamb.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Some questions you might have: do I need a sous-vide for this? Well, you do if you want to come up with this exact result, but you can always follow this method to obtain a similar type of lamb, quite different from the way it is normally enjoyed. It is known as “Lamb you can eat with a spoon” and pretty much describes the meal we had. Another question could be, can I make it in  24 hours instead of 30? I’d say you probably could, but the meat would not be as tender. Sous-vide offers a real wide flexibility in terms of timing, but I would definitely go more towards 30 rather than 24 for this preparation. There are discussions on how much liquid the meat loses as you increase the temperature and the timing, so higher temperatures can be problematic for some cuts of meat. I heard of a fantastic recipe for lamb shoulder from a restaurant that cooks it at 170F for 36 hours, but keep in mind that lamb shoulder is a bit different in terms of texture. All things considered, I think the way we made it turned out pretty good. I would like to come up with a sauce to serve with it, but was unsure about using the liquid accumulated in the bag as a starting point. Will re-visit this issue soon.

The sweet potatoes were quite delicious, and paired well with the lamb. We also had green beans and almonds as another side dish, forming a fun and colorful dinner plate. Leftovers can be shredded and come back as part of a lamb ragu, coupled with a hearty tomato sauce, or part of a curry with some garbanzo beans added to the party.

If you prefer a more traditional leg of lamb, you can use 135 to 140F for 24 hours for a bone-in piece. That will give you tender meat, pink all the way through, perfect to cut in slices. I like to keep seasoning simple, but you can of course use all kinds of dry rubs or marinades before placing it in the bag.

Sous-vide is a perfect gadget for entertaining. Since timing is so flexible and after sous-vide all you need is a last-minute browning or searing, it works wonders when you have guests for dinner.

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PORK TENDERLOIN ROULADE WITH PUMPKIN AND PECANS

This is a super simple recipe, but one that looks like you spent a considerable effort to bring to the table. I made it sous-vide, but you don’t have to do it this way, I offer alternatives for stove-top cooking. You can also use chicken breasts instead of pork, I made it both ways, not sure which one I prefer, I think the pork makes it easier to roll and looks a bit more tidy in the end. So that’s the one I picked to highlight today.

PORK TENDERLOIN ROULADE WITH PUMPKIN AND PECANS
(adapted from The Essential Sous Vide Cookbook)

2 pork tenderloins (about 1.2 pounds each)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup canned pumpkin purée
¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
2 tsp Southwest spice mix (I used Penzey’s)
3/4 cup chicken broth (divided)
¼ cup apple cider
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon flour

Heat the water bath to 150°F.

Butterfly the pork tenderloins and use a rolling-pin or a meat mallet to flatten the meat to about 1/4 inch thick. Protect them with a plastic wrap and sprinkle the meat with a tiny amount of water before pounding. Season with salt and pepper all over.

In a small bowl, stir together the pumpkin purée, the pecans, the Southwest mix, and a smidgen of salt. Spread half the filling on each piece of meat, leaving a ½-inch border around it. Roll up each pork tenderloin jelly-roll style, starting at the narrow end, and tie with kitchen twine (use 4 or so pieces to cover the extension of the roll).

Pour ¼ cup of chicken broth and the apple cider into the bag. Add the roulades, and seal using the water displacement method. Place the bag in the water bath and cook for 5 to 6 hours. Remove the roulades from the bag, reserving the cooking liquid (pass it through a sieve if you prefer a smooth sauce in the end). Place the roulades on a paper towel–lined plate and pat them dry.

In a medium ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the pork and brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.  If needed, add a bit more oil to the skillet, add the flour, cook it for a couple of minutes, then add 1 cup of chicken broth plus the reserved cooking liquid. Cook until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove the strings from the meat, cut in slices and serve with the gravy.

For non-sous vide cooking: make the roulades and start by browning them on all sides on a skillet with very hot olive oil. When golden brown, add the chicken stock and apple cider, cover, and simmer gently until cooked through, making sure the liquid comes at least to half the height of the roulades. Depending on the thickness of the roulades, it will take 45 minutes to 1 hour. Baste the roulades and turn them around on all sides during cooking.  Once done, reduce the cooking liquid by boiling, or if you like more of a gravy consistency, do the flour trick as described in the recipe.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The temperature for cooking pork is a matter of taste. I’ve mentioned it before, we don’t care for pork still pink in the center, so I always go for 150F. You should do what suits your taste. The sous-vide has two advantages, the flexibility in time – you can even push the cooking time a bit further, if needed – and the way it keeps the roulade shape during cooking, even though it is not vacuum-sealed. Of course, the texture of the meat is perfect when made sous-vide, but you can still get a very nice meal on the stove-top, it just takes a bit more of tending during cooking. You don’t want to over-cook the delicate meat, or leave it uncooked in the center.  As I mentioned, I also used chicken breasts, and the rolled effect is not as nice, but it still tasted great. For chicken breasts, I reduced the cooking time to 4 hours, and used 148 F. Probably not much difference from 150F, but that’s what I did.


I love to find uses for canned pumpkin puree, because I often use some in a recipe and have leftovers staring at me later. Yes, it freezes well, but there is a limit to the number of little packages one can keep track in the freezer. I rather open a can, use it all up, and move on. When I made the recipe a second time, I did not even toast the pecans and it was still very nice, so a few shortcuts here and there don’t hurt. The sous-vide is perfect for working days. I can prepare it all the evening before, leave the bag in the fridge, set up the water-bath at lunch next day, and arrive home to a nice, almost effortless dinner. A couple of side dishes, and we are set.

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