cook's illustrated poached chicken breast with cumin-cilantro yogurt sauce

cook\'s illustrated poached chicken breast with cumin-cilantro yogurt sauce
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp salt
4 tbsp soy sauce
or 1/4 cup
3 cloves garlic
smashed and peeled
4 qt water
2 whole chicken breasts
skin on if possible
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 whole shallot
1 whole garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup whole-milk yogurt
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp water
or more if needed
salt and pepper
2 tbsp fresh cilantro
chopped, could also use mint
This recipe requires a little bit of lead time and some patience, but the end result turns out really delicious! We ended up making it one day because it made use of many ingredients that we happened to have on hand. We have adjusted the recipe by doubling the sauce and reducing the original amount of water needed to dilute it.
for the chicken
Add the sugar, salt, soy sauce, garlic, and water to the dutch oven. Whisk to fully dissolve the sugar. Submerge the veggie steamer inside the dutch oven.
On your designated cutting board for meat, cover the chicken breasts with plastic wrap. Pound the thick end of the breast with a meat pounder to bring the thickness down to 3/4 inch.
Set the breasts on top of the veggie steamer and brine for 30 minutes at room temp.
Warm the pot over medium heat. Stir every 5 minutes until the water temp reaches 175°F. This should take about 15-20 minutes.
Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Rest until the chicken breasts reach 160°F. This should take about 20 minutes. Set up the mise en place for the yogurt sauce at this point.
Rest the dutch oven lid, handle down, on the counter. Transfer the chicken breasts to the lid and cover tightly with foil. Rest for 5 minutes.
for the cumin-cilantro yogurt sauce
While the chicken rests, warm the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the shallot and stir and cook for about 2 minutes until soft.
Mix in the garlic, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
Transfer the skillet off heat. Whisk in the yogurt, olive oil, and lime juice.
Whisk in just enough water to lighten the consistency while keeping it thick and NOT too runny.
Season with salt and pepper. Cover the sauce to keep warm if needed.
Mix in the cilantro just before serving.
to serve
Using a slicer, slice the chicken breasts on a bias into 1/4" pieces. Transfer to serving plate.
Garnish the chicken with the yogurt sauce. Share and enjoy immediately.
source: March-April 2014 issue of Cook's Illustrated
Be sure to prep the sauce right before serving. In case you end up with extra chicken and sauce, these leftovers are actually delicious when enjoyed cold the next day.

Our cousin Ryan recently loaned us his sous vide machine while he was away travelling. We brined the chicken per the recipe. Instead of poaching it, we sous-vided it with some of the brine. The chicken turned out super tender and delicious with the sauce! Ryan, good luck getting your sous vide machine back! ;)