Recipes, Sous-Vide

Sous Vide Israeli Garlic Chicken

In this post, I’ve re-imagined a recipe I posted months ago, Israeli Roasted Garlic Chicken.  The instructions have been re-worked for sous-vide and ingredients tweaked.  The benefits of sous-vide here are that the chicken is more moist and the overnight marinade is less crucial due to the ingredients being sealed in with the food during the cooking process.  I do still recommend a longer marination period if you can swing it and it’s better to cook this closer to the 4 hour time period than the 1 hour time.  Additionally, I used sumac and harissa separately in this recipe (both are optional), but I noticed some prepared harissa blends available over the counter include the sumac, so you should be aware that you may need to adjust the recipe according to what blend you may have.

Before I get to the recipe, I wanted to share some thoughts with you, but if you’re anxious to view the recipe, you can skip ahead here.

Israeli Garlic Chicken

Approximately two months ago, my fiancé requested that I make this recipe again.  It was my first recipe on the blog and some of his first food photography–he’s learned A LOT since then!  He wanted a chance to do it again and reminded me that it was one of his favorite recipes since the blog started, who could say no to that?  Me, that’s who.  The truth is, marinating something overnight just felt daunting.  Hell, cooking rice-a-roni felt daunting.  I no longer wanted to cook.  For one, I work full-time and commute from the suburbs.  It’s been winter-time and by the time I come home, the sun is going down.  Exhaustion aside, if we even hope to get pictures on the blog, it feels like we’re sacrificing quality for content, something neither one of us really wanted to do (although, it’s been necessary at times).  Another thing was, this once grow-your-own-vegetables, make-every-thing-from-scratch, admitted food-snob had found convenience foods…well…convenient.

The guilt?  I felt it.  One Thursday, when I looked at the ambitious menu I had scrawled on the fridge whiteboard the previous Sunday (at a more innocent time) and realized that instead of “roasted salmon,” “stuffed chicken breasts,” and “Mediterranean turkey burgers” I had planned, we had ate out every day that week and I truthfully felt like a failure of an adult.  I was financially irresponsible and neglecting mine and my fiancé’s health; clogging our arteries, raising our cholesterol, not to mention single-handedly ruining the entire local economy by buying national food chain food (as I said, we live in the suburbs).

A month ago my sous-vide water oven broke.  The display had cracked.  I got my replacement, the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker, just last week; I ditched the clunky and inflexible water oven for the smaller and more adaptable wand type, a decision I am thrilled about (my overview of the device forthcoming).  I decided this was the catalyst to more home cooking and set in motion the remaking of the Israeli garlic chicken requested by fiancé two months prior, a sort of two-redemptive-actions-for-the-price-of-one kinda deal.  I set the chicken in the sous vide bath and took a bath, reading material in hand, while it did its thing.  That’s when I found an article by Molly Watson in the Edible San Francisco, Cooking’s Not for Everyone.

In her entertaining read, she urges us to give up the guilt trips, calling them out as oppressive and not at all productive to our lives.  Her beautiful writing drew me in and one quote in particular resonated with me:

“There is no moral good or bad in cooking.  I am always struck by the language people–or to be exact, women–use when commenting on the amount of cooking I do.  They say that I’m “good”.  It is often followed by a confession about how they are “bad” because they hardly ever cook.  It’s the culinary Madonna-whore dichotomy.


People who are passionate about quality food and a more sustainable food system shouldn’t be out encouraging such nonsense.  We shouldn’t be proselytizing cooking and fetishizing the homemade.”

(emphasis added)

This eloquent quote was exactly what I needed to read and I’m sure I’m not alone.  Comparing ourselves to others, especially professionals, but even to previous versions of ourselves, is not at all productive.  The truth was, I had been doing the best I could at the time I was doing it.  While once I had the time and energy to cook everything and plan meals meticulously, I no longer had that luxury and that was okay.

and now for the Recipe!

Kosher Status : Meat

| Ingredients |

  • Two heads of garlic (un-peeled)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup of chopped parsley
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons margarine *we use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter – light w/ Olive Oil, which is Kosher Pareve
  • Juice from two lemons (approx. 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered harissa seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 pieces chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

To taste: Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garnish: Paprika & chopped parsley

| Directions |

The chicken with the marinade

The chicken with the marinade

Prepare the marinade:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Place garlic heads on a baking sheet and roast for at least 40 minutes. (The smell as this is happening is incredible and be prepared for your stomach to rumble if you’re even a bit hungry)
  2. After the garlic has begun to change color, test the cloves for softness. When they appear to have softened, remove from the oven and let cool.
  3. Once cooled, slice the heads of the garlic off and squeeze the resulting garlic goo into a food processor.  To the food processor, add the cilantro, parsley, butter, lemon juice, salt, pepper, paprika, harissa, sumac, and cumin seeds.  Grind into a thick paste.
  4. Rub the paste all over the chicken thighs and place into either a vacuum sealing bag or into a Zip-Lock type bag.  Seal using your vacuum sealer or, if using a Zip-Lock type bag, use the Archimedes principle.  Refrigerate for at least two hours; overnight is ideal.

Israeli Garlic Chicken (Sous Vide Chicken)

Sous-Vide the chicken:

  1. Preheat your sous-vide set-up to 165°F (74°C).
  2. Place the bags into the preheated sous-vide water bath and ensure the bags are submerged.  Cook for one to up to four hours.
  3. After the chicken has cooked, remove from the bags and place into a cast iron pan.  Brown/char the chicken using either a high-powered propane torch (not a butane torch, such as those sold for making creme brûlée – they’re much too wimpy!) or under your oven’s broiler set to high.
  4. Serve with rice or couscous.
The chicken is super moist, thanks to the sous vide method.

The chicken is super moist, thanks to the sous-vide method.