Sous Vide Fried Chicken
Goal: Golden crispy fried chicken on the outside that is juicy, tender and thoroughly cooked on the inside.
Fear: Chicken cooked on the outside and raw on the inside. Yeech.
Answer (with fear resolved): sous vide fried chicken
By slowly cooking the chicken prior to battering it and frying it, you can ensure the chicken is properly cooked all the way through! This recipe uses the sous vide method.
What is Sous Vide (pronounced soo veed)?
Translated from French to English, sous vide means “under vaccum.” In practical terms, sous vide is a cooking process to cook food gently, slowly, at low temperatures in a plastic bag with the air removed (hence, under vaccum).
What if I want don’t want to invest in a sous vide machine?
I’m frugal, financially economic, cheap, thrifty or more plainly, I won’t spend on kitchen toys if I can really help it. So….I’m not investing in a sous vide machine. Great news! You can apply the sous vide concept easily with your existing tools and save yourself a few dollars. Google “cooler sous vide” or better yet, Serious Eats explains sous vide in a beer cooler.
Sous Vide Fried Chicken
- Small cooler – the small one – the one that is too small to hold beer – “THAT” cooler (preferably one that has spout on the bottom)
- Instant read thermometer
- Electric water kettle or large pot to boil water
- Large freezer bag(s)
- Deep frying pan
- 1 chicken cut into 8 pieces or chicken pieces
- 2 cloves of garlic finely minced and carmelized
- 4 sprigs thyme
- Kosher Salt
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 ½ cups pastry or cake flour can be self-raising flour
- 3 tsp salt or 2 tsp salt if using self-raising pastry flour
- ½ tsp pepper
- 3 tsp paprika
- 4 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 cups milk or buttermilk
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper to taste
Sous Vide – gentle low temperature cooking
- Fill cooler about half full (smaller coolers are best) to 145-150F warm water
- Cut chicken up into pieces – drumsticks, thighs, breasts into two pieces, wings.
- Season chicken with 4 springs of thyme, garlic, and generous kosher salt and pepper.
- Place chicken into large freezer bag and partially close the zipper and press air out.
- Place the bag in the water with the opening on top to finish pressing the air out of the bag and seal.
- Place sealed freezer bag opening over the edge of the cooler ensuring the chicken is essentially submerged into the water.
- Allow chicken to “cook” for 1.5 to 3 hours in the cooler. With the cooler essentially closed, you will need to increase the heat of the water to ~145F once or twice. For this, I’ll boil water, drain off some of the water in the cooler and top off with some piping hot water.
- Once the chicken reaches 145F for 20 minutes, the chicken is cooked. For more information on chicken food safety https://www.seriouseats.com/2015/07/the-food-lab-complete-guide-to-sous-vide-chicken-breast.html#safe
Chicken Fry Time
- In a shallow pan, heat oil for frying to 400F
- Place dry ingredients into a deep rimmed bowl
- Place milk into another deep rimmed bowl
- Remove chicken from the freezer bag, dredge in flour and allow floured chicken to sit in milk for one minute. Then dredge back into flour.
- Place dredged chicken into hot oil and keep oil temperature at 375F. Cook 2-3 pieces of chicken at a time.
- Since the chicken is cooked (winner winner, chicken dinner!), flip chicken in the hot oil when the batter is lightly brown and to colour.
- Once chicken is fully brown, move onto wire rack.