This dish was inspired by a couple of recipes from the Eleven Madison Park cookbook – a book I thoroughly recommend. I was a little apprehensive when I put this together because the mix of flavours did sound a little complex but they come together nicely and, in the centre of the dish, you have a beautifully cooked piece of chicken.
Buy a whole chicken for this – portion the chicken into breast, wing and leg meat and make your stock from the carcass – it’s a much more economical way of cooking as you’re bound to have leftovers.
Here’s what you’ll need
For the chicken
- 1 whole chicken
- 1/2 cup clear honey
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger & garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil.
For the sauce
- 1 onion – cubed
- 1 carrot – cubed
- 1 stick celery – cubed, keep the leaves.
- 1 pint chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 4 Medjool dates – seeds removed
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala.
For the dehydrated orange peel
- 1 large orange
- A pinch of Maldon sea salt.
For the rolled dates
- 2 dates per person
- 1 small bowl of olive oil.
For the leeks
- 1/2 a leek per person
- A nob of butter
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper.
Cook the chicken
Preheat a waterbath to 60c (I use the Sous Vide Supreme). Portion your chicken – remove the breast meat keeping the skin on. Seal the breasts in vacuum bags and cook for at least 2 hours. Because you’re only cooking up to the temperature it needs to be cooked to, you can cook it longer without any fear of it overcooking.
Remove the legs and the wings from the chicken (keep these for another day). Place the carcass in a pot of boiling water and gently simmer for 1 hour.
Make the Honey and Soy glaze
Put the honey, oil, soy sauce and ginger & garlic mix in a pan and gently cook for half an hour.
Make the sauce
When the chicken carcass has been cooking for an hour – Soften the onion, carrot and celery in a pan in a tablespoon of oil over a low heat for 10 minutes – keep an eye on them, stirring them making sure they don’t burn. Add a spoonful of tomato puree and cook for 30 seconds more. Now gradually ladle in the cooking stock from the chicken carcass. You’re looking to add about 1 pint of the stock.
Roughly chop the dates and add to the sauce. Bring to a simmer and allow to gently cook for 30 minutes or so. Pass through a sieve, add the spice mix and check for seasoning – it should have a rounded sweetness from the dates and a very slight kick from the garam masala.
Make the dehydrated orange peel
Grate the zest of 1 large orange onto a plate. Cook in a microwave for 20 seconds at full power. Open the door and remove the plate – you’ll see water vapour escaping at this point. Give the zest a shake and repeat the process. You’re looking to remove the moisture from the zest so you need to open the microwave door between each 20 second cook.
You’ll probably need to do this about 6 times. When the zest is dried, mix in a little sea salt – not too much though.
Make the rolled dates
Cut the dates lengthways and remove the seed. Peel the skin from the flesh – this can be a little messy but stick with it – when you roll the dates it wont matter if the flash is torn a little as it will all come together in the end.
Take the date flesh and dip your fingers into the bowl of oil. Roll the date flash into a ball and set aside.
Cook the leeks
Boil the leeks in water for 15 minutes. Slice lengthways and finish off in a pan of hot butter until they develop a little colour.
Remove the chicken from the cooking pouches and give them a minute or 2 in a pan of hot oil just to give them a little colour. Spoon over the glaze which should be reasonably sticky by now – if it isn’t give it a quick blast of heat for a minute or so – it will thicken up quickly enough.
Plate up the chicken, leek and rolled dates. Spoon the sauce around the chicken and over the leek.
Sprinkle the dehydrated orange over the chicken.
Finish with the saved celery leaves.
There’s a bit of work that goes into this dish but I think it’s worth it. The chicken cooked Sous Vide certainly makes it worthwhile on its own.