Sous Vide Chicken Thighs with Garlic and Herb Pan Sauce

Famous chefs use Modernist Cuisine to make the perfect meal. Me? I use it to get dinner on the table in ten minutes.

A month ago, chicken legs were on sale. I bought five pounds worth, separated them into thighs and drumsticks, seasoned them, sealed them in vacuum bags, and stacked the bags in the freezer. They sit, waiting for me to need a quick dinner – like I did today.

Before I left the house this morning, I filled my SousVide Supreme with water, set it for 80°C (176°F), and dropped in one of the bags of frozen chicken thighs.

Eight hours later I come home. Dinner time! The chicken is cooked, but the skin is pale and flabby. I sear the chicken, skin side down, for three minutes, and then make a pan sauce with a half cup of rosé, herb sprigs, and the chicken juices from the vacuum bag.

Look at that – weeknight sous vide. Ten minutes of active time and I’m ready to serve chicken, with crackling crisp skin, perfectly cooked dark meat, and a tasty pan sauce.
You don’t know the power of the dark side…of the chicken. Join us! We have flavor!

Recipe: Sous Vide Chicken Thighs with Garlic and Herb Pan Sauce

Cooking time: 8 hours

Equipment

  • SousVide water bath (I use a SousVide Supreme Demi)
  • Large, heavy fry pan
  • Coffee filters or a fine mesh strainer

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper

Pan sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup dry rose wine (or white wine)
  • Juices from the sous vide bag, strained through the coffee filter or a fine mesh strainer
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Sous Vide the chicken

Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Put the thighs in a single layer in a large (gallon/3.8 liter) vacuum bag, and seal. (You can freeze the thighs at this point for up to six months.) Sous vide at 176°F/80°C for 4 to 8 hours. (Go for at least 6 hours if the chicken thighs are frozen.)

2. Sear the chicken

Cut open the vacuum bag and remove the chicken thighs, saving the liquid in the bag. Pat the skin side of the thighs dry with paper towels. Heat the heavy frypan over medium-high heat, then add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and sear until the skin is crisp and brown, about 3 minutes. Move the chicken to a serving platter.

3. Make the pan sauce

While the pan is heating, pour the liquid in the vacuum bag through a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter.

As soon as the chicken thighs come out of the pan, add the garlic slivers to the pan and cook until they are fragrant and starting to brown around the edges, about 1 minute. Pour in the wine and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the strained juices and the sprig of thyme and rosemary to the pan. Increase the heat to high and simmer until the juices reduce by half, about five minutes.

Discard the herb sprigs, taste the sauce, and add salt and pepper as needed. Pour the sauce into a gravy boat or serving bowl and serve, passing the sauce with the thighs.

Notes

  • Why strain the juices from the bag? It filters out any coagulated proteins – a trick I picked up from StefanGourmet.com. This keeps the sauce from looking terrible, with a layer of curdled protein scum floating on top.
  • Because of the long cooking times, I don’t think this recipe lends itself to a beer cooler sous vide setup. Save this recipe until you have a SousVide supreme or a sous vide water circulator to maintain the temperature for you.

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts

Sous Vide Grilled Lamb T-Bones with Provencal Tian
Sous Vide Salmon with Fennel Salad
Sous Vide Grilled Chicken Breasts with Japanese Glaze and Dipping Sauce
Click here for my other sous vide recipes.

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4 Comments

  1. Chris Lukowski /

    How would you compare the results to cooking thawed bone-in thighs in a pressure cooker?

  2. Pressure cooker is wet, more like a stew; this is more like a roast, especially after crimping the skin.

  3. StefanGourmet /

    Thanks for the shout out. Have you ever tried chicken legs cooked at 64.5C/148F? They will be more juicy but not as falling apart tender.

  4. I have not tried them at 148 – thanks for the tip!

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