Sous Vide Poached Chicken
Why This Recipe Works
Poached chicken gets a bad rap for being tough, dry, and a little squeaky between your teeth. But that's probably because poaching is a relatively imprecise cooking method: If your poaching water's too hot, the meat overcooks; if you leave the meat in the water too long, it overcooks; if you use too little water, the meat—you guessed it—undercooks. For foolproof poached chicken, we cook chicken breasts at a moderate temperature for about an hour, which results in a juicy, tender texture that's just firm enough that it doesn't fall apart. While this recipe is finished in an hour, you can hold the chicken in the bath for up to 3 hours before the texture starts to change—giving you some flexibility. This perfectly poached chicken is great on its own, sliced over salad, or used in a chicken salad. In addition, this method is a great starting point for experimentation and variation, so feel free to add spices, herbs, or boldly flavored marinades to the bag (just don't add fresh garlic; it is particularly susceptible to botulism).