Food & Drink Magazine

Truffled Roast Chicken: Easy at Home Sous-vide Cooking

By Skfsullivan @spectacularlyd

TRUFFLED ROAST CHICKEN: EASY AT HOME SOUS-VIDE COOKINGRecently I’ve been told “Sorry I didn’t call you sooner, it was a 15 hour flight from Honolulu and I was totally beat.”

And, “The snow in Paris was terrible, I had to stay two extra days.”

Ah, the brag complaint.  The pity me/envy me over the hassle of having to drive all the way to New Jersey to get the oil changed on the Lamborghini.  Or the double whammy of worrying about taking in the trousers of your tuxedo before attending the Oscars. 

TRUFFLED ROAST CHICKEN: EASY AT HOME SOUS-VIDE COOKING
And now we’re guilty too. As in, “Ugh, all those truffles were piling up, something just had to be done.”  

TRUFFLED ROAST CHICKEN: EASY AT HOME SOUS-VIDE COOKING
That’s a bit of a stretch. On hand were some summer truffles, a vial of white truffle oil and an ounce of truffled salt (Sel à la Truffe Blanche - from France!).

The reigning doyenne of fungi, Eugenia Bone, author of Mycophilia, deflated these pretensions in the New York Times. Her verdict: summer truffles are woody flavored and less refined than their way-more-expensive brethren. Truffle oil is invariably bogus to some extent; ditto the salt which did, however, have an appealingly repulsive hue and funky odor.

Nevertheless, convinced that the results would be greater than the sum of the parts, this Truffled Chicken Easy At Home Sous-Vide recipe was launched. 

First the truffle shaver got a rare workout. Thin slices of truffle were then worked between the skin and the flesh of a plump chicken. After a sprinkle of the truffled salt the bird went into a Ziploc bag.  The (falsely?) fragrant oil was drizzled in, the bag slowly lowered into a big pot filled with water. When the water pressed all the air from the bag it was zipped closed.

TRUFFLED ROAST CHICKEN: EASY AT HOME SOUS-VIDE COOKING
The beauty of sous vide cooking is the food never exceeds its desired temperature. Chicken is succulent — and slips off the bone done — when it reaches 165°.  In a conventional oven the outer layers far exceed the ideal. The margin of error is small and the threat of withered bird is great. As Julia Child sings, ”The real test of good chef is a perfectly roasted chicken.”

The sous-vide rationale ensures the food never exceeds the desired temperature. Hence the popularity of sous-vide in restaurant kitchens. It takes longer this way — considerably longer — but it’s also near impossible to over cook.

But so worth the wait. Freed from the plastic body bag, the truffle taste infused throughout, the chicken gets a blast under the broiler to brown the skin. The succulent meat slips right off the bone, evenly and reliably cooked to perfection in every little nook and cranny.  

TRUFFLED ROAST CHICKEN: EASY AT HOME SOUS-VIDE COOKING
Simple small-scale sous-vide isn’t all that hard. Shown here is a humongous cast-iron dutch oven (Staub, 8 quarts, 21 lbs., pricey at $289 but you’ll use it for dozens of other things as well), and an accurate food thermometer (@$13) . If you’re serious, there are some sous-vide ovens gently priced around $400 (small capacity, variable results) though the good ones will run a lot more.

Note: sous-vide chicken is not contingent on truffles. Season a bird in any manner you desire and steep away.

Click here for the recipe for Truffled Roast Chicken: Easy At Home Sous-Vide recipe.

 


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