Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Chicken Breast Search Continues

Part of the inspiration for the sous vide experiments was to see if boneless, skinless chicken breasts could be made edible. A difficult challenge - usually they are tasteless, tough dry. Brining is an option, but still they are just plain difficult to do. Browning them, hoping for some good Maillard reaction flavors is possible, but futile. So with despair in my heart I reached for the circulator. In previous posts I mentioned the various experiments. Today's was to see what happens when cooked with a sauce.
Of course, given what I put in the sauce, the fat under the chicken skin would have hardly made any difference. The reason? heavy cream! Yes, this dish had a cream sauce placed into the bag with the raw chicken, and then cooked in the circulator at 71C (160F) for 4 hours. It got the "we can serve this to people" appellation, so I guess it came out OK!
1T butter
8 oz White mushrooms - sliced
2 large shallots - minced
5 sprigs thyme
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 whole chicken breasts patted dry
Heat the butter in a large skillet until the foaming has subsided. Add the minced shallots and stir quickly. Add the mushrooms and thyme sprigs. Salt and pepper the contents, and then cook down until most of the water has cooked out of the mushrooms. Add the cream to the hot pan and bring back to nearly a boil.
Place the chicken breasts in a vacuum bag, cover with the cream sauce and pump out the air. Place in the circulator at 71C for 4 hours.
If eating immediately, serve over simply cooked rice with some colorful (peas and carrots, for example) vegetables on the side.
Otherwise plunge in an ice bath to chill the bag, and place in the freezer. Thaw in the fridge, reheat - taking care to ensure that the chicken is heated all the way through. Serve as above.

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