Somewhere buried in the cookery books that I rarely open these days lies a recipe for Vietnamese Roast Chicken. Somewhere on the blog, I cooked it. That was a few years ago. It is a worthy dish packed with delightful authentic Vietnamese ingredients that give a real flavour punch to the delicious chicken. I thought that I might try to get the same level of flavour and all round deliciousness cooking some free range chicken thighs in the sous vide. You can cook it in a traditional oven, under a grill or on a barbecue too and the instructions are below for that too. This is how I got on and I can only recommend to to you.
I cooked this for two of us, though, it would and even should, have served three hungry people. It is a couple of months since I cooked these and since starting to write this up, I realise that there is a real use for the “ingredients shot” that I use on my posts. I reckon that if I went to recreate this dish now, without the benefit fo the below shot, I would end up using different ingredients. Worse still, I might have to set off my dust allergy by taking out that old cookery book. Anyway, back to the ingredients.
- 6 or 7 large, free range, skin-on, bone in chicken thighs
- 3 stalks of lemongrass
- 6 or 8 spring onions
- 2 single bulb garlics or half a bulb of other good garlic
- 2 red chilis, medium size, medium heat
- 5 cm piece of fresh root ginger
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons of dark brown sugar
- Zest and juice of a lime or two
- A big bunch of coriander
Remove the outer skin from the lemongrass, ginger and garlic. Roughly chop up the lemongrass, ginger and garlic, chilli, spring onions and most of the coriander, including the stalks. Zest the lime. Reserve the lime(s) for juicing later.
Stuff all of this into the food processor along with the fish sauce and sugar (or if you like and as I did) into a blender to form a nice thick paste.
Put the chicken into a vacuum bag (a plastic one for vacuum sealing, not a vacuum cleaner bag) and seal it using any of the three methods, water displacement if using Zip Loc, extraction or chamber vacuum. When we redid the kitchen a while back, I installed a chamber vacuum. It’s a great device.
Throw the chicken into the fridge and leave overnight. This will allow the flavours to really permeate the meat.
If you are going to use the sous vide, cook the chicken at 64ºC for two and a half to three hours. They will look pretty unspectacular when they come out. Pop them into a very hot oven for ten minutes, spooning over some bag juices/flavourings as you go.
The remaining bag sauce needs to be put into a saucepan, reduced and heated. It is packed with flavour and adds a lot to this dish.
If you are cooking them in a regular oven, 220ºC fan for ten minutes then 180ºC for about 20 minutes after that.
If you plan to cook them on the barbecue, take your time, do them nice and low. Flare-ups and drama are not your friends in this. Spoon some of the bag contents over the chicken as you go.
Same as the barbecue instructions with more attention to avoiding the fire, as you are indoors.
Squeeze the lime juice over and spoon on the sauce (if doing sous vide). Serve them with boiled rice and some of the remaining coriander leaves. You will not be disappointed. This is a really flavoursome meal for two or three people. I hope you try it.