Food escapades in modernist cuisine

Sous Vide Miso Chicken, Garlic Tofu Emulsion, Carrot Puree, Celery

I'm a big Top Chef fan, and the most recent season in Seattle just finished up with Kristen Kish emerging as the winner. Kristen dominated all season long until that one week where she got screwed by Josie and got voted off unfairly, so I was glad to see her battle through Last Chance Kitchen and come back all the way to win. She also works for Barbara Lynch at Stir, so it was also great to see a chef from the Boston area succeed and represent!

A few weeks ago during the elimination challenge of Episode 9, Kristen put a twist on a familiar classic - chicken pot pie. She put together a deconstructed version and added some Asian flare to the dish by marinating the chicken breast in white miso and making a garlic and tofu emulsion as the "gravy". I thought it was a really creative way to reinvent the dish, and I was inspired this weekend to make it myself at home.

After my wife and I had lunch today in Quincy at Pho Countryside, we stopped by Kan Man supermarket to grab some groceries. We picked up some celery, carrots, white miso, chicken breasts, tofu, and garlic. Later in the afternoon, I started preparing dinner.

The chicken takes longest to cook, so I started with that first. I mixed together some white miso with  chopped herbs like rosemary, thyme, and parsley and then smeared this all over the chicken breasts. I sealed the breasts in a Ziploc bag, removed as much air as possible using the water displacement method, and then dropped the bag into my Sous Vide Supreme at 140 degrees F for about one hour.

I then put together the carrot puree, first simmering some peeled and chopped carrots until fork tender and then blending in my Vitamix with some carrot juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

I also brought some chicken broth up to a boil and then poured the hot broth over some celery that I finely sliced using a mandoline. I let the celery poach in the warm broth until I was ready to plate.

For the garlic and tofu emulsion, I first cleaned a head of garlic and then blanched the cloves in boiling water six times, replacing the water each time. The blanching of the garlic helps remove the sharp, raw garlic flavor. I then added some half and half (Kristen uses soy milk), salt, and tofu, simmering the garlic cloves until they were tender. All of this went into my Vitamix to be blended together.

After the chicken breasts cooked in the immersion circulator for about an hour, I took them out and put them in a sautee pan over medium-high heat. I added in some agave syrup and some of the chicken broth the celery slices were soaking in. The syrup and broth combined with some of the miso on the exterior of the chicken to form a nice glaze. After a few minutes in the pan, I took the chicken breasts out of the pan to rest to let the juices reabsorb and redistribute before slicing.

With all the components prepared, there was nothing left to do except plate up and eat! Overall, I thought the flavors combined well and were subtle yet sophisticated. The chicken which was sous vide was incredibly moist and tender. My favorite part was the miso glaze. There wasn't much to complain about but if I had to criticize one thing, I would say that there weren't many contrasts in texture. The chicken, carrot puree, and soy garlic emulsion all were velvety and smooth in consistency. There was some crunch from the celery but not much as they were lightly poached. Kristen's dish includes olive oil dumplings, which I did not make, but that wouldn't have added any texture either. Overall though, the dish was very refined and tasted great. Here's the final dish again.


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