Sous Vide: Stuffed Chicken Thighs

Stuffed entrees are festive and visually appealing, but tend to be labor intensive. Vacuum processing can be used to ease the burden.


Boneless chicken thighs, skin-on, 4 each–approximately 24 oz/675 g.
Powdered egg whites, as needed, or fresh egg whites, 1 each.
Uncooked sausage, breakfast type, Italian sweet or your preference, 4 oz/120 g.
Carrots, 1 each, peeled.
Celery, 2 stalks.
Parsley, chopped, 4 tablespoons, divided in half.

Optional components:

Marmalade infused sweet potato
Sweet potatoes, 1 each, sous vide processed at 183 F/54 C for 1 hour.
Unsalted butter, 1 oz/30 g.
Orange marmalade, 1 oz/30 g.
Maple syrup, 1 oz/30 g.
Kosher salt, to taste, approximately 1 teaspoon.


Cherry tomatoes, 6 each, halved.
Extra virgin olive oil, 1 oz/30 ml.
Chopped parsley, as needed.
Salt and pepper, as needed.

Sauce, your choice. In this recipe we used versions of the ones linked HERE and HERE.








Equipment requirements
Immersion circulator, portable or stationary.
Heat rated container.
Sous vide racks.
Heat rated sous vide bags.
Channel or chamber vacuum device.
Kitchenaid type mixer (optional).
Round Ring Molds, 4″ D x 0.75″H, or similar, 4 each..
Plastic wrap.
Meat mallet.
Standard kitchen oven.

Above: Lipavi C15 container, N15 polycarbonate racks. Lipavi C15L-UNIR lid.

Actual prep time, 90 minutes
Serves 4
Level of difficulty: 3.25


Preheat the sous vide bath to
132 F/56 C


Cut the carrots and celery lengthwise into small strips, approximately 1″/2.5 cm long. Strips assure the vegetables’ visibility when you slice the chicken later. Bring 1 qt./1 liter water to an actual, furious boil. Add the carrots and celery, return to boil for 30 seconds and then strain. Submerge the vegetables in cold tap water to stop the cooking process and drain well.

Combine the sausage, carrots, celery and parsley in a bowl. Mix well. Refrigerate until you are ready to proceed.

Stuffing the chicken

Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on a steady work surface that will not vibrate from the impact of the meat mallet. Lay the thigh on the plastic skin side down. Spray/drizzle lightly with oil and put another sheet of plastic on top. The oil prevents the plastic from sticking to the chicken. It also protects your walls and apron from being splattered with tiny particles of meat. Plastic wrap can be infuriating, but it is very useful.

Pound the thigh out as flat as possible without compromising its structural integrity. Place the ring form on a small plate.

Place the chicken in the form, skin side down.

Add 1.5 oz/45 g of the filling mixture.

Fold the skin over the filling.

Vacuum seal the whole assembly.

Notes: Round Ring Molds are perfect for this application (and for forming hamburger patties), but any 4 oz/120 ml mold or dish will work–most of us have something sitting around the kitchen that is perfectly suitable–cookie cutters, soufflé cups, etc.

A square cookie cutter.

A small soufflé dish. No plate necessary if the dish has a bottom!

Process the chicken at 132 F/56 C for a minimum of 6 hours to pasteurize. When the interval has elapsed, submerge the packages in iced tap water until they achieve 70 F/21 C–approximately half an hour. Refrigerate at 40 F/4 C for at least two hours before proceeding. Thorough chilling makes the stuffed thighs much easier to handle.

Remove the assemblies from the refrigerator and remove the plastic.

Remove the stuffed thighs from the frames, turn them over and arrange them on a rack. Preheat the oven to 350 F/176 C.

Dust the thighs with powdered egg white.

Use a spray bottle to mist with water (not necessary if you use fresh egg whites).

Sprinkle lightly with your favorite blend. Keep in mind that the stuffing is already well seasoned.

Roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until the desired appearance is achieved. Use a probe thermometer to make sure that the internal temperature is at least 140 F/60 C.

The presentation can be very simple so as not to undermine the focus on the chicken itself. This sauce (optional) is a combination of the espagnole linked HERE, reduced with balsamic vinegar and finished with a pat of butter.

The marmalade infused sweet potato offers a whimsical contrast to the savory flavors of the stuffed chicken.

This classic demi-glace is linked HERE.



Norm King



The idea of stuffed chicken elicits a mental image that is both appealing and novel. The marriage of multiple flavors in a single bite and an artistic but simple presentation makes the most of otherwise competitively priced ingredients.


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