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Michael Voltaggio’s Crispy Chicken Thighs

Created by Chef Michael Voltaggio, this recipe relies on the cooking technique known as sous vide, a French term meaning “under vacuum.” Here, chicken thighs are placed in a vacuum-sealed pouch along with garlic, thyme and butter, then slowly cooked at a low temperature in a circulating water bath. This process seals in the flavors and nutrients, yielding tender, delicious results. Just before serving, the chicken is seared in a fry pan until golden brown and crispy.

Ingredients:

  • 6 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed with a knife
  • 2 or 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil, plus more as needed

Directions:

Prepare a sous vide immersion circulator for use according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Preheat the water to 150°F, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Season the underside of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Place the thighs, skin side down, into a vacuum-sealable bag, making sure they lie flat. Add the garlic, thyme and butter to the bag. Using a vacuum sealer, vacuum and seal the bag tight according to the manufacturer’s instructions; be sure you have a smooth, airtight seal. Carefully place the bag into the circulating water and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Remove the thighs from the circulating water and place the bag into the ice water for 20 minutes. If serving the chicken that day, place the bag on a baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to sear the thighs. If serving the chicken the next day, place the bag, with the thighs skin side down, on a baking sheet. Place another baking sheet on top and weight it down with a heavy fry pan. Refrigerate overnight.

Just before serving, remove the thighs from the bag and pat dry with paper towels. In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm 1 to 2 Tbs. oil. Working in batches, place the thighs, skin side down, in the pan and cook until golden brown and crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn the thighs over and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the thighs to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Repeat with the remaining thighs, adding more oil to the pan as needed. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe from Chef Michael Voltaggio