Jim’s Sous Vide Chicken Marbella

This recipe uses sous vide techniques discussed in “Cooking in a Vacuum” in the May/June 2018 issue of Zymurgy magazine. It is a simple sous-vide adaptation of the famous Chicken Marbella recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins (1981), which itself borrows heavily from the classic French dish lapin aux pruneaux (rabbit with prunes).

Sous vide is an amazing technique to use for this dish, which originally called for the chicken to be marinated overnight. Your sous vide Chicken Marbella will be tender and luscious, and the sweet-savory combination will be a real crowd pleaser. I’ve omitted the olives from this adaptation (my wife does not like them) but you can add pitted Castelvetrano or Cerignola olives to this recipe if you wish.

Prepared ahead of time, you can reduce the sauce and finish the chicken in a cast iron skillet and very quickly get a meal on the table that everyone will love.

Ingredients

  • 6–8 medium-sized fresh boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 1.5 pounds
  • 5 prunes
  • 1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar, solera-aged if available
  • 1 Tbsp. capers
  • 1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter
  • 1 bunch oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • coarse sea salt
  • fresh-ground black tellicherry pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat your sous vide water bath to 160° F (71° C). Pour yourself a pint of homebrew.
  2. Peel the garlic cloves and place into sous vide bag on the countertop. Gently flatten each clove of garlic with the underside of your pint glass.
  3. Finely chop the prunes.
  4. Season the chicken thighs with coarse sea salt and fresh-ground black tellicherry pepper and place in the sous vide bag with the chopped prunes.
  5. Add the butter, sugar, vinegar, capers, and a small (whole) oregano bunch or two to the sous vide bag. Seal according to manufacturer’s instructions (or use the displacement method).
  6. Once the set temperature of the water bath has been reached, add the bag and cook until the chicken is completely tender, about 2 hours.
  7. Remove the bag from the water bath, open, and empty the liquid contents of the bag into a large, heavy skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until the liquid has reduced, about 2–3 minutes. Add the remaining contents of the sous vide bag, carefully removing the oregano bunches and flattened garlic cloves, and spoon the reduced sauce over the chicken for approximately 30 seconds to coat.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
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