Food escapades in modernist cuisine

Sous Vide Chicken Breast, Chermoula Sauce, Bok Choy

Chicken breast gets a bad reputation in my opinion. People generally think of chicken breast as boring and bland. When they dine out at restaurants, chicken is usually the last protein they think of to order and often rightfully so as it is typically dry, over-cooked, and woefully mistreated. The good news is that chicken doesn't have to be this way. It has the potential to be juicy, succulent, and wonderfully tender - if done correctly. Enter sous vide.

For a quick week night meal, my wife and I cooked some chicken breast in our Sous Vide Supreme and served it with a home-made chermoula, a sauce used in Algerian, Morcoccan and Tunisian cooking. We took two chicken breasts, seasoned them with salt, pepper and small drizzle of good quality olive oil, and then sealed them up in a zip loc bag using the water displacement method. After pre-heating the Sous Vide Supreme to 140 degrees, we dropped in the zip loc bag and let it cook for a little over an hour.

Meanwhile, as the chicken cooked, we put together our chermoula sauce. I had seen an episode of Bobby Flay's Boy Meets Grill where he cooked some fantastic looking halibut with chermoula sauce, so that's what the inspiration was. For the chermoula sauce, we combined some saffron and hot water in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes to bloom. In a small pan, I heated up some canola oil and added some garlic along with ancho chile powder, chile de arbol, ground coriander, and ground cumin (be careful not to burn the garlic - otherwise, it will be bitter). After cooking for a few minutes, we added the saffron and its soaking water and then removed from the stovetop. To the garlic and saffron mixture, we whisked together olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice and then mixed in some chopped bell peppers, tomatoes, mint leaves and cilantro.

After an hour of cooking, we took the chicken breasts out of the Sous Vide Supreme. We dried off the excess moisture from the exterior of the chicken breasts and then browned the exterior using our Iwatani kitchen torch. Alternatively, if you don't have a kitchen torch, you can also sear them quickly in a hot pan on the stove. I sliced up the chicken breasts and served some sauteed bok choy and garlic on the side.

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