Perhaps you like a chicken breast that is juicy and filled with lots of flavors. So why is it that most of the time you keep getting breasts that are dry and lacking a taste that's bland and boring?
Well, perhaps it how you're preparing your chicken. If you want to have the perfect grilled chicken that will satisfy even the most critical of palettes, you need to try this easy method.
You haven't lived until you've experienced this Sous Vide method.
What is Sous Vide?
Sous Vide is a French method for cooking meat in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag. It uses a simple process where meat is seasoned beforehand and slowly cooked in water for a certain amount of time.
You literally cannot ruin meat this way and ensures that meat is cooked all the way through, and cooked to perfection.
Here's what you can do for cooking chicken breasts at home using the Sous Vide method.
How to Sous Vide without Buying a Sous Vide Cooker
You'll need a couple of important items for this super-easy trick. First, you need some reliable kitchen equipment. This includes:
a) Freezer Ziplock bags (these are thicker than normal bags and withstand heat better)
b) Two oven thermometers (one for watching the temperature in the oven and one for the water. The water version needs to have a long probe that sits in the water)
c) Cooking pot (this needs to contain at least 5 liters of water.)
d) A decent electric oven (that has a reliable temperature control)
Prepare your chicken breast as you normally would by washing them with cool water and patting them dry. Add seasoning with salt, pepper, and add fresh herbs as you like.
After this place one breast into a Ziplock bag (one per bag) and allow it to fit at the very bottom. Roll the bag to slowly get out all of the air.
Slide the Ziplock seal to where it's nearly closed, but lets you squeeze all the air you can until you can lock it off.
Preheating your cooking pot water
Preheat your oven to 175-185 Fahrenheit and start warming your cooking pot water on the stovetop likewise. This is why having two thermometers is essential so you can see the temperature on both.
When the stovetop water reaches 155F, you're ready to begin, so turn off the stovetop heat.
You want to lower the oven temp to stay at 150F, so adjust your oven setting- accordingly.
Add your chicken to the water
Now you can slowly submerge your chicken breasts into the water. Be sure that you have no more than two per cooking pot.
The chicken should sink to the bottom inside their airtight bags. If you need to take out some water, do this using a ladle carefully.
Now you can transfer this cooking pot to the lowest rack in your oven. This needs to cook for 1-hour at 150F, which is perfect for Sous Vide.
As long as you maintain 150F in your cooking pot, you'll get great results. You might have to adjust the oven heat to make this happen.
Keep checking back every 15 minutes just in case.
Browning before or after?
Two camps on either side insist that browning is done afterward, but there is another opinion that says beforehand is better.
In either case, you need to take your cooked chicken out of each bag and carefully dry it off with a paper towel to remove any moisture.
It might look pale and unappealing, but when browning happens, you'll be blown away at the results.
You can use any method that you like. It can be browned in a pan, on a grill, on a BBQ, or using a portable brazing torch. Be sure to use a basting sauce that helps compliment the final browning.
This can be a mixture of seasoned oil or butter that helps sear the outside, making it golden brown. After this, your chicken breast is done.
Let it sit for a couple minutes and serve immediately.Do you know about the Maillard reaction?
This is also called the browning reaction and is more about the chemical reaction that makes meat taste a certain way.
You probably thought it's just to get the outside crispier and brown, but this method is actually pure cooking science.
Making a browning mixture with oils or butter combines added spices and herbs that penetrate the meat of your chicken and add flavors that you didn't expect.
It has more to do with the chemical reaction that changes and rearranges amino acids and sugars within your browning mixture.
They react with your cooked meat and bind to the outside, causing the outer skin to contain a flavor signature. The heat from your cooking pan only speeds-up this reaction, so it really has little to do with searing the outside at all.
Some experts believe that this method is better when you do it before you Sous Vide.
Your meat absorbs this brazing flavor all throughout, giving you a totally different taste experience. Afterward, this meat can be further seared to lock-in all these flavors.
Perfect flavor every time
If you're having a hard time getting your chicken breast to taste incredible, you'll have to try this method. We assure you that you'll never go back to your old method ever again.
And the best part is that you don't need fancy Sous Vide equipment to get great results. Here’s another great recipe to yield a juicy grilled chicken if you’re looking to skip the sous vide and simply hit the grill.