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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sous Vide Chicken Breast

This is not so much about a recipe as it is about a technique for cooking chicken which is low and slow and helps the meat to retain its natural juiciness.  My spouse much prefers dark poultry meat whereas I am more partial to the lighter meats, which puts us a bit at odds with each other.  One option is to get a whole chicken--then there is something for everybody.  But that isn't always practical and to make matters worse, I care more and I cook meat less than he does.  So it is an act of kindness and love on his part that he works to make chicken a dish we can both enjoy. 

Sous vide is a technique where the meat is put into a vacuum sealed bag and cooked at a low temperature in a water bath.  This first attempt was simply seasoned with salt, pepper, tarragon, garlic, and lemon--just stick them into the bag and seal.  The best is breasts that are on the bone and if you like the skin browned, then skin on, so that it can be sauteed after it is cooked to look like the breast above.

The timing is the key, and here is the table to help decide where and when you will take the chicken out of the sous vide water bath:

Sous-Vide Chicken Breast Temperature and Timing Chart

Texture Temperature Timing Range
Tender and juicy for cold chicken salad 150°F (66°C) 1 to 4 hours
Very soft and juicy, served hot 140°F (60°C) 1 1/2 to 4 hours
Juicy, tender, and slightly stringy, served hot 150°F (66°C) 1 to 4 hours
Traditional, juicy, firm, and slightly stringy, served hot 160°F (71°C) 1 to 4 hours

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