Attach your sous vide machine to a large saucepan, or a sous vide container. Fill your saucepan with water until the water comes up to somewhere between the lines of “min” and “max” that are marked on your sous vide machine.
Preheat the sous vide machine to 146°F or your desired temperature. Allow the water bath to come up to the temperature before adding your chicken.
While your water bath is getting warmed up, prepare the chicken breasts by seasoning each one generously with salt, pepper, and paprika on each side.
To bag chicken breasts, start by folding the top of a sous vide bag or Ziploc bag back over itself to form a hem. This will prevent the chicken seasonings and juices from getting on the edges of the bag, which could interfere with the seal or provide vectors for contamination.
Place chicken breasts into the bag along with thyme sprigs. (My sous vide bag is big, so I had three chicken breasts in one bag).
Unfold the edge before closing the bag. Seal the bag using either a vacuum sealer or a hand pump. You could also slowly lower your bagged chicken into your water bath, letting the pressure of the water press air out through the top of the bag. Once most of the air is out of the bag, carefully seal the bag just above the waterline.
Place the vacuum-sealed bag of chicken into the preheated water bath, making sure not to block the intake or output sections of your sous vide machine. If properly sealed, the chicken should sink. Cook for two hours.
Once the chicken is done, take it out of the water bath and increase the temperature to 184°F.
Prepare a new sous vide bag or Ziploc bag by folding the top. Place the whole asparagus into the bag, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grab the bag and shake well.
Unfold the edge of the bag and seal it according to step 6. Drop the bag into the prepared water bath, making sure that all asparagus is under the water. Cook for 15 minutes.
While the asparagus is cooking, finish up the chicken. Take the chicken breasts out of the bags. Pat them dry with a paper towel.
Add some olive oil in a cast-iron skillet and heat it over medium-high heat on your stove. Once the oil is hot, place the chicken in the hot oil and push it down with your spatula for about 45 seconds on one side. (If using skin-on chicken breasts, put the skin side down.)
Once the chicken is seared, transfer to a cutting board. Let it rest for two minutes and cut into slices. Serve with sous vide asparagus. Enjoy!
I saved the chicken juice from the sous vide bags and used it to flavor sous vide hard-boiled eggs. Amazing!