Don't let the 'sous vide' in the title scare you! But if you've given some thought to trying sous vide, this recipe will convince you it's one right move. Whether on the grill or sous vide, Lemon And Roasted Garlic Chicken is one flavorful dish.
Lemon and garlic go hand in hand, don'tchya think? They are a classic pairing in cuisines like Italian, Greek, French. Garlic catapults lemon to over the savory side and when the garlic is roasted like in this recipe there's a whole mellow thing happening that is simply sublime. Does anyone say sublime out loud? Or is that just a word that is best read? Ok—maybe best read back in the '50s. The word "sublime" is the perfect word to describe something like a really good ice cream savored very slowly on the spoon. And it also describes this lemon and roasted garlic chicken that I happened to cook using the sous vide technique. But before I share all the goodies on sous vide, here's the in's and out's of the chicken.
One great chicken recipe
I got the sous vide from my awesome kiddos for Christmas which is why I really wanted to use it. And with chicken especially, as you know I love a good technique for cooking chicken. No worries! You can marinate this lemon and roasted garlic chicken and then cook it on the grill as well. I wouldn't leave you hangin' like that!
Ever heard the expression that "all great recipes begin with garlic"? That's not an expression? Boo-yah! It is now and this chicken complies. You'll prepare and roast a head of garlic in the oven (400° for approx 30 min) and mash-up each and every one of those little cloves you squeeze out into a small bowl to which you'll add some chopped fresh thyme, dried oregano, salt, pepper and three different kinds of lemon (!). Yup, three. Zest, juice, and some more juice taken from the jar of preserved lemon you'll be tucking in the marinade as well. So that means FOUR kinds of lemon. Lemon four ways, baby, and you shouldn't be one bit ashamed about it. Take all that lemony and garlic-laden goodness add some preserved lemons, spread it all over your chicken and either place in a freezer bag or in a glass container.
TO SOUS VIDE OR NOT TO SOUS VIDE: THAT IS THE QUESTION
If you have an immersion circulator, use it per the instructions laid out in the recipe. If you won't, you can marinate the chicken for just 30 minutes in the lemon garlic paste and then grill it up. Either way, you're going to have many happy campers at your table. Keep reading for all the sous vide info or just head on down to the recipe if you're ready!
This chicken is BEYOND juicy even two days later and the lemon flavor hits you in the best way. You won't get over how good it is!
WHAT IS SOUS VIDE?
If you watch any cooking shows on TV, you are probably familiar with the term "sous vide." Sous vide (or "under vacuum") involves taking vacuum bag-sealed ingredients, cooking them in a water bath and then finishing them on the stove or in the oven. Meats, poultry, veggies and more can be cooked via sous vide. Restaurants use sous vide all the time to deliver a perfectly cooked product that typically would take hours to prepare and serve it within minutes to their customers. Home cooks can also benefit from sous vide at home.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SOUS VIDE?
- helps with the timing of dishes and meals making it so easy to cook for a group. For example, if you have steaks that you want prepared to different temperatures you can cook them using sous vide to the rarest temp needed, remove them from the bath and finish them later when you're ready to eat.
- produces food that is evenly cooked throughout at a consistent temperature
- makes it easy to prepare different proteins for different members of your family.
- virtually impossible to overcook your food because once the food is finished cooking it stays at the desired temperature
- improved texture of meats (like this chicken - it's SO juicy cooking it sous vide!)
- helps to reduce the risk of contamination because of the guaranteed temp of meats
- super flexible as you can sous vide meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, eggs —even coffee! And I plan on trying that last one very soon!
equipment needed to sous vide
- Immersion circulator - In order to sous vide, you need an immersion circulator which basically is a big electric thermometer that generates a current to heat an even bigger tub of water to the perfect temperature all while moving the water. Immersion circulators used to be mostly available to the chef set because they were really costly. However, they've come down significantly in price making them more accessible to the home cook.
- Plastic tub - And I don't mean the kiddie pool in your backyard. Think of a big tub deep enough to hold the amount of food you're cooking along with the water it needs. For 4 chicken breasts, small steaks or veggies, you could use an 8 qt stockpot. For larger amounts of food , you can pick up one of these. I also recommend using a double-walled beverage tub that doesn't form condensation on the outside.
- Plastic bags - there are special bags specifically made for sous vide although you'll see in this recipe I have used freezer-style Ziplocs. Bottom line: all freezer bags from name brands are lined with polyethylene which is a food-safe, approved plastic that you can use to sous vide.
- Vacuum Sealer - You don't need a vacuum sealer to sous vide. If you have one, great! Otherwise, you can use the water displacement method where you gradually dip the ALMOST closed bag into the water and as you get to the top of the bag, the water pressure pushes the air out of the bag making it easy to seal the bag without excess air. Here is more info from Serious Eats on how to use the water displacement method. And note the use of freezer-bags.
- Clips - having a clip, like a binder clip, secure the bag to the side of the container makes it easy to fish out the bag and reduces the risk of puncturing it with tongs.
- One great recipe- of course, the chicken below works but for more sous vide chicken tips, this is a great sous vide article with variations depending on what you're using the chicken for (like a salad).
CAN YOU Sous vide in the Instant pot?
Sure thing you can! Whether you have the Max model with the sous vide setting built right into it or a different model of Instant Pot, you are in luck! Below is a link to an immersion circulator that works with other Instant Pot models (#2) and it's such a great deal! My guess is most of the future Instant Pots will have sous-vide functionality. Because the world needs all the Instant Pots it can get, right? YOU get an Instant Pot and YOU get an Instant Pot!
Sous vide or otherwise—just make this chicken!
For a crowd: if you're having a crew over, sous vide a bunch of proteins ahead of time and have them ready and waiting in the water. Then when it's time to eat, remove then from the bath and finish them on the stove, in the broiler or on the grill! Easy peasy!
For a few: prepare vacuum-sealed freezer bags ahead of time with smaller portions of marinated chicken and freeze ahead of time. Then place in your sous vide ready tub and cook from frozen. Just multiply the cooking time by 1.5.
Shop This POst
- This is the model I have that has WIFI/Bluetooth functionality and I can program it from my phone.
- The second model works with the Instant Pot's that don't have sous-vide functionality.
- The last model also has Bluetooth functionality but not WIFI.
Lemon and Roasted Garlic Chicken
- immersion circulator
- freezer bags or sous vide bags
- vacuum sealer or handheld pump
- tub or 8qt. stockpot
For the Marinade Paste
- 1 head garlic
- 2 lemons
- 2 preserved lemons, cut in half
- 1 tsp fresh thyme , leaves removed from the stem, chopped
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 TBSP preserved lemon juice, from the jar
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper, optional
For the Chicken
- 1 ½ lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 4-5
- salt/pepper , to season chicken breasts
For the Marinade Paste
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Trim the top of the garlic clove but cutting with a knife across the top ⅛-¼ of the head exposing all the cloves.
- Place garlic head on a small piece of foil and place on an ovenproof small dish. Drizzle garlic with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Loosely bring up the sides of the foil around the side of the garlic leaving the top open.
- Roast garlic in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool and set aside.
- While garlic is cooking, zest both lemons and then juice one of them. *NOTE: if you're not using sous vide, juice BOTH lemons)
- Place/pour zest and juice into a small bowl.
- Squeeze head of garlic lightly to pop out the roasted cloves and add them to the lemon zest/juice bowl.
- Add herbs, salt, and crushed red pepper to the lemon mix and mashup completely with a fork creating a slightly smooth paste. Don't worry if there are any chunks of garlic. Just make sure you got all the papery skins out.
For the Chicken
- Place the chicken into a sous vide gallon size freezer bag or vacuum bag. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Spread the lemon garlic paste on top of the chicken along with the four preserved lemon halves.
- Remove as much air as possible from the bag either using a vacuum sealer, handheld pump or water displacement method. If the chicken will be frozen immediately, seal it up and freeze it for later. Just get as much air out as possible.
Sous Vide Method
- Fill large stockpot (I use an 8 qt wide pot) with water about ⅔ of the way up. Attach sous vide to side of pot securing it tightly. **TIME SAVER: use hot water to begin with!
- Set temperature to 146° and the time to 1 hour on the circulator according to manufacturer's instructions.
- Once the water has come to temperature, lower the vacuum-sealed bag into the water clipping the top to the side of the pot. You can also use the water displacement method.
- When the circulator signifies cooking has ended after one hour, either allow the food to stay in the water bath for no longer than 4 hours (for chicken). Or remove and refrigerate until needed that day.
- Heat a skillet with a little olive oil on medium high and sear the chicken for about 2 minutes on each side until the internal temp reaches 165°.
- Heat a grill to medium heat.
- Add extra lemon juice (see above).
- Allow chicken to marinate in the lemon garlic paste for about 30 minutes to an hr in the refrigerator.
- Remove from marinade and discard the remaining marinade.
- Place chicken on grill over direct heat and cook for 8-12 minutes flipping once until meat is no longer pink and the internal temperature reaches 160°. Remove from grill and rest for approximately 5 minutes until the chicken reaches 165°.
- For extra-large chicken breasts: butterfly them (slice in half horizontally without going all the way through and then open like a book) and then slice in half down the middle lengthwise.
- Another option is to double the garlic paste mixture.
- For a reusable plastic bag alternative, try Stasher bags.