Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chicken with tarragon

As part of the experimentation with sous-vide cooking, I laid out some goals and the beginning process. Here's the link to that first post.

One of the goals was to see if there was a way to make boneless, skinless chicken breasts edible. The jury is still out, but the method shows promise.

What was really strange about this dish was how much liquid there was in the bag at the end (making us worry about how dry the chicken might be), and yet how moist and juicy the meat was. I am sure a food scientist can help with this conumdrum.

The dish was not an unqualified success, the chicken was rather mealy in texture. Taste was fabulous, but it was definitely soft. I think it is worth repeating the experiment, but maybe leaving it in the circulator for less time.

In any case here is what I did.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Grape seed oil to coat the chicken
Salt/pepper - a small amount just to season
2 bunches of fresh tarragon

Set up the circulator for a temperature of 160F (71C). Rub the chicken breasts with oil and then salt/pepper lightly. Place in vacuum bag and pack in the tarragon. Seal the bag as usual. Wait for the circulator to come to temperature. Slide the sealed bag into the circulator and leave to cook for 4 hours.
Take out of the circulator, plunge in ice water (still in the bag) until cold. Then freeze in the bag.
To reheat, give it abut 2 minutes in the microwave (still in the bag if you dare - but the bag will puff up and possibly explode). It may be wise to vent the bag before microwaving.

Slice on the diagonal and serve over salad.

Future Changes
Cook in the circulator for 2 hours instead of 4. It seems as if the tenderizing effect of sous vide cooking can make it go further than one would like. Otherwise, just keep doing it!

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