Friday, February 24, 2012

Sous Vide Chicken Breast in Creamy Ricotta Sauce

What I love about sous vide cooking besides its amazing ability to keep meats moist and tender, is its convenience factor.  Now I am someone who likes to cook, really loves to cook, but those that are a little timid in the kitchen can take heart - cooking sous vide really simplifies things for you.  There may be a little bit of planning involved, but would you rather leave the planning to a food scientist figuring out a better way to add water weight to your frozen semi meat microwave meal?  It is cliché but it all goes back to you are what you eat, literally.  So why not take just a little bit of time out of your day and make something that is better for you and that actually tastes good as well.  OK, off my soap box.

One of the quickest meals to make is using chicken breast in the sous vide.  

This is a recipe for Chicken Breast in Creamy Spinach Ricotta Sauce.

Sous Vide Chicken Breast in Creamy Ricotta Sauce

For Sous Vide (Prep 5 minutes, Cook time min 1hour)
2 - 6 oz boneless skinless chicken breast
1 Tablespoon Butter
Kosher Salt
1 Bay leaf

For the sauce (Prep time 5 minutes, cook time 25 minutes)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
1 shallot or half an onion
2 cups fresh baby spinach
½ cup of chicken stock
½ cup Ricotta Cheese
¼ cup cream
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
A couple of zests of a lemon
Salt & Black Pepper to taste

Sous vide:
Generously salt the chicken breast with kosher salt and place in pouch, with butter & bay leaf.  Seal and add to water bath pre-heated to 146 F and cook for a minimum of 1 hour.

To make the sauce, dice your shallot.  Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat.  When the pan is heated, add the extra virgin olive oil, then the shallots and cook until soft about 3-5 minutes, taking care not to brown them.  Once the shallots are soft, add your baby spinach and with a wooden spoon move it around the pan until the spinach has shriveled and is limp.  Then add the chicken stock, turn pan up to high heat and bring to a boil and reduce the stock by half, about 8 minutes.  Once the stock has reduced, lower the temperature to medium low and stir in your ricotta cheese.  Stir to incorporate the cheese into the spinach and onion mixture, simmer for a minute and then add the cayenne and cream and let simmer for 5 minutes.  Just before serving zest in a couple of swipes of lemon zest with a micro-plane zester.

After the chicken has cooked for a minimum of an hour remove the breasts from the bags and serve with the creamy spinach ricotta sauce. 

Serving suggestion- Serve with a brown rice pilaf and broiled asparagus.

Recipe by Mick Dimas, Culinary M.C. and Co-Owner of Add Thyme a cooking school based in San Francisco.  For a list of cooking classes offered please check out

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