This is inspired by a dish served at Eleven Madison Park in New York. I knew way before I got my immersion circulator, during the days when I used a rice cooker to cook sous vide, that chicken breast was one of the meats that really benefits from sous vide cooking (Even though I didn’t give it enough time during my first attempt and parts of it were inedible) I recently saw a video of chef Daniel Humm preparing chicken breast sous vide, and I immediately put it on my “to-sous-vide” list.
– Shave truffles into thin slivers
– Use your finger to gently separate the skin from the breast meat, but stop pulling when you reach the center so that the skin stays connected to the breast
– Place a layer of truffles in between this pocket of space between the skin and the breast, do this for both breasts, thats what she said.
– Slice a knob of butter and place it on top of the truffles, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper (Just sprinkle onto the truffle/butter)
– Flip the breast over, season the meat with salt and black pepper again, coat with a thin layer of herbs, I used rosemary and thyme
-Place the breast on a piece of cling film and roll to form a roulade, the cling film I used wasn’t big enough and I had to use two pieces, no biggie
– Let the chicken sit in the fridge overnight, then vacuum seal the whole thing(with cling film) in a vacuum bag
– Cook in a water bath at 61.5C for 90 mins
Pros: I had high expectations for this, and I wasn’t disappointed. Easily one of the moistest breasts I’ve had(At least 25% of the content in this post is probably illegal in some countries), an instant hit with everyone at the table. Meat was well seasoned, herbs really shone through, and the truffles added a nice subtle earthy-ness to the dish. With something cooked sous vide like salmon, for example, the meat achieves a completely different texture- its pretty close to sashimi, and yet the meat still flakes, something that completely defies logic, and not everyone can appreciate this seemingly new texture. But chicken breast is one of the meats that is hard to argue against doing sous vide(I may have confused myself with this double negative), the product is just incredibly moist and meat isn’t stringy, it isn’t something that you can achieve with traditional cooking methods.
Cons: I can’t think of any issues with the meat, but the truffles I used were the size of grapes and were pretty cheap, you get what you pay for, because it didn’t flavour the meat as much as I thought it would. Ideally, when you slice across the roulade, you get a nice circular chicken breast, a contrasting outer layer of black truffle, and the (almost) invisible chicken skin; all that was lost because the truffle I used was already physically handicapped, and I had also sliced them very thinly, a thicker truffle would have added some visual appeal to the dish
Thoughts: I had actually wanted to use a lower temperature, I know Heston Blumenthal uses 60C for chicken breasts, but I was in a rush and decided to increase the temperature, plus I had no idea how long I was supposed to cook them for. Would 1.5C make much difference? That’s something I definitely want to find out, maybe the next time I get my hand on some fresh truffles….