On a purée of white beans, yoghurt, and roast garlic sits a sweet and sour salad of carrots, raisins, and walnuts, and some very succulent slices of chicken breast. Drizzled on top of the sous vide chicken breast is a balsamic honey reduction.
The ideas in this recipe percolated for quite some time before ending up in this combination on the plate. And so, in the spirit of Darwin’s survival of the fittest, this dish deserves to be the one that survived. These diverse textures and flavours work beautifully together.
The carrot raisin salad
The carrot raisin salad with walnuts was a re-creation of a salad I remember eating at picnics and barbecues in my younger days in New Zealand. Memories of happy summer events. The citrus and honey dressing, a slight deviation from the original, still perfectly complimented the fresh carrots, raisins, and walnuts.
The white bean puree
A neutral coloured, creamy, yet umami-packed base was needed to complement this striking salad and highlight its fresh carrot and citrus notes. The roast garlic and white bean puree delivered on this need. Each element of the purée is essential – the cannellini beans, the yoghurt, and the roast garlic. Substituting one of these ingredients would make this a different dish. They are balanced. They are integrated. Most importantly, the combination of these ingredients complements the salad that is layered on top of them.
The sous vide chicken breast
The carrot raisin salad and white bean purée make a really delectable standalone dish. For this iteration, though, I topped it with slices of sous vide chicken breast. I have enjoyed some wonderfully succulent poached chicken. My sous vide device helped deliver the best “poached” chicken breasts I have ever had. If you would like to learn more about this technique or see why I selected 63 degC for 1.5 hours, then read this Serious Eats post.
For me, there are two compelling reasons for owning a sous vide device. 1. cooking slow-poached eggs (see this Onsen Tamago and these quail eggs and grilled eggplant on soba noodles, and 2. cooking duck and chicken (see the many delectabilia recipes featuring sous vide duck).
As a final touch, I reduced some balsamic vinegar and honey to drizzle over these succulent chicken breasts, adding a nice sweet and sour dimension.
Carrot raisin salad on roast garlic white bean puree. Sous-vide chicken breast.
White bean puree
- 3 cups grated carrots
- 1/2 cup raisins about 100g
- 1/2 cup walnuts about 50g
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 2 spring onions finely sliced
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 2 Tbsp orange juice
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4 chicken breasts skinless and boneless. If they are large, then 3 will be enough
- 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 3 spring onions, finely diced
- 8 sprigs thyme
- 40 g butter
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chicken breasts – additional if not using sous vide
- 1 litre dashi or chicken stock
White bean puree
- Roast the head of garlic per these instructions
- Squeeze the garlic cloves from the head.
- Blend together garlic cloves and remaining ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
- Press through a fine sieve to make even smoother.
- Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
- Grate the carrots.
- Chop and toast the walnuts for a few minutes.
- Combine the olive oil, lemon and orange juice, honey, salt and pepper in a shaker.
- 20 minutes before serving, toss together the dressing, carrots, raisins, walnuts, parsley, and spring onions.
Chicken breasts – sous vide
- Season chicken generously with salt and pepper.
- Add to sous vide bags together with the butter, garlic, thyme, and spring onion.
- Expel the air with a vacuum sealer or the displacement method and seal the sous vide bag.
- Sous vide at 63 degC for 1.5 hours.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the bags, discard the aromatics, and slice into 15mm thick slices.
Chicken breasts – traditional poached
- In a large saucepan, add the chicken breasts and pour over the dashi or stock. Add the salt, thyme, garlic, and spring onions.
- Cover and put over a medium heat.
- When the dashi or stock reaches a temperature of 70 degC reduce the heat a little and maintain that temperature.
- Continue cooking the chicken until the thickest part of the chicken reaches 65 degC (45-60 minutes).
- Remove the chicken from the broth and let rest.
- Strain the broth and reserve for another use.
- Slice into 15mm thick slices.
- Spoon some white bean puree on to the plate. Smear into a donut shape, leaving an area in the middle for our salad.
- Spoon some carrot salad into the middle of the white bean puree.
- Top with a sliced chicken breast.
- Drizzle with some reduced balsamic vinegar and honey.