Today chef surprised me with an unexpected gift. A vacuum packaging machine. And naturally, as with any gift, the first thing I had to do was play. I got the dry ancho-coffee rub for the Buffalo packaged, went through all the portioned fish and other meats. Pretty much anything I could find now can be found tightly packaged in one of our many coolers. Then, sous vide came to mind. I have been looking for a way to make our achiote marinated chicken more attractive and simplified. The marinade, although very red when the chicken is uncooked, tends to darken and become less attractive once it has been sauteed. My thought had been, just roasting it would help. It did, but not enough. Well today I think I found my solution. By vacuum packing each marinated chicken breast and steaming or poaching them I loose no color. In addition, the fully cooked chicken seems larger, brighter, and even more delicate. Its very easy to slice, and stays incredibly juicy. The great thing is, you can cook them ahead of time and cool them. Then for service, all you need to worry about is making sure they are hot. That alone cuts the cooking time during service by about half. After seeing the results of the chicken, you can bet you will see more sous vide cooking appearing on this blog.