So it was just my birthday yesterday and all of my gifts revolved around my new goal of learning how to cook. I am about to be a father and know that my time to go out and explore restaurants will be more limited. That being said I still want a certain level of taste and flavor in my food. Thus begins my journey to cooking restaurant level food for my family.
First technique up from my birthday gifts is the sous vide cooking. I received the ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide, 1100 Watts, White Body, Stainless Steel Cap & Base as a gift from my wife and was so eager to give it a try I have chicken set up on it right now as I am writing this. This little gadget is extremely simple to use and utilizes an iphone app to control everything. This means that I can update it whenever I am not at home to start. Kinda like a crock pot I can have everything prepped and set it to start so that it will be ready when I am home. In addition to a new found passion for cooking, I am also a tech nerd so this is a win for both sides of my personality.
Sous vide cooking honestly looks more like a science experiment than actual cooking. Sous vide is the art of circulating warm water to create full immersible and even cooking environment. In Sous Vide, you place your food into a bag and set a temperature for the sous vide device to hold on to. The bag is supposed to be as air tight as possible which allows for whatever seasoning or marinade you are using to penetrate the meat at a greater rate than normal.
While the various elements of sous vide have been around for a while, using the the techniques combined together as described above is fairly new. The primary adoption is given to french chef Georges Pralus who used the method for foie gras. Apparently this method made it possible to achieve better quality foie gras that is now becoming the standard. This adoption has also led to chefs using the method for multiple other dishes to create new possibilities.
This dish is coming with its own level of high expectations. The boxes for all of the sous vide devices have marketing material that states things along the lines of “get ready for the best food you’ve ever made” and “Cook the best food of your life.” I am very excited about this upcoming meal because of that but the extremity of the promises also has me cautiously optimistic.
For the first meal in the sous vide I utilizing Geoffrey Zakarian’s Sous-Vide Chicken Chimichurri. This involves a heavy dose of herbs, garlic, and olive oil to keep our chicken extremely moist. This also involves getting chicken with the skin on to finish off the sous vide by crisping up the chicken skin on the stove.
After trying the sous vide method the next step is to sear the chicken skin in order to get the crispiness and color that you would expect from a delicious meal. This part I have to acknowledge I messed up. Whenever you pull your chicken out of the bag it smells incredible but it doesn’t look the best. I was ready to search the skin to get a lovely color and crispiness on the outside but sadly failed because I didn’t use a non stick pan. The skin on the chicken was very sticky after cooking in the juices and seasoning for 8 hours. My poor flipping skills didn’t stand a chance.
I took a picture of the best breast I made for the article which is what you see above. I will say that although it wasn’t the best looking and I messed up the searing part, the chicken was fantastic. Taste wise I am confident that I will be cooking sous vide again in the near future. This time searing with a non stick.