This is a more elegant version of one of our go-to weekday dinner classics: Chipotle Chicken. This version is not very difficult; that one is downright easy. Roast a cut up chicken, pop a chopped onion in a sauce pan with some chicken stock (or a bouillon cube and water) along with a couple chipotle peppers out of a can, a squeeze of lime juice, puree the sauce….and dinner’s ready.
In this version the chicken is a bit more refined as is the sauce. It is the pickled chayote, though, that elevates it. Chayote – sometimes referred to as “Mirliton” or “Christophene” (or various other names) depending on the country and region – is a mild flavored gourd related to melons, cucumber and squash that takes to pickling well. Serve them with a chicken breast cooked sous vide for two hours at 140° Fahrenheit and then seared over high heat and that weeknight classic is very nearly a high end restaurant dish.
Makes 3 servings
For the Chicken Breasts:
- 3 boneless, skinless half chicken breasts
- Adobo seasoning (or equal parts salt and pepper and ¼ part cumin)
For the Pickled Chayote:
- 1 chayote squash, cored and julienned (skin on)
- cup kosher salt
- 4 limes, juiced
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1 cup refined sugar
For the Sherry Chipotle Sauce:
- 2 shallots, minced
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup dry sherry
- 3 chipotle peppers from a can of chipotle in adobo
- 2 grams xanthum gum (or a slurry of corn starch and water)
For the Garnish:
- Cilantro oil
- Sous Vide the Chicken Breasts. Season the chicken breasts with the adobe seasoning. Please each in a food grade plastic bag and vacuum seal. Place the bags in a sous vide water bath for 2 hours at 140° Fahrenheit.
- Pickle the Chayote. Meanwhile place all of the pickle ingredients except the Chayote in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Cover the chayote slices with boiling water for two minute before draining in a strainer. Add the chayote slices to the pickling liquid and refrigerate for at least an hour before using.
- Make the Sherry Chipotle Sauce. Place the minced shallots and a teaspoon of grapeseed oil in a saucepan and sweat for two minutes. Add the remaining sauce ingredients (except the Xanthum Gum) and bring to a boil before lowering the flame to a simmer for approximately half an hour, reducing the sauce to 500 grams. Remove and reserve the chipotles. Add the Xanthum Gum 0.5 grams at a time, allowing the sauce to come back to heat and the Xanthum Gum to achieve its full thickening power. It will probably take 1.5 grams to properly thicken the sauce.
- Finish and Plate the Dish. Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the sous vide, free the breasts from the bag and allow the breasts to rest. Slice them, lengthwise. Arrange the slices on a plate, spiraling upwards. Place a reserved chipotle on each plate and arrange and splay some of the pickled chayote strips over the chipotle. Spoon the sauce over and around the chicken. Garnish with the cilantro oil.