Sous Vide Leg of Lamb
Dining date: 3/24/13
A few weeks ago, I came across a sale in the Bristol Farms weekly ad for boneless leg of lamb. I’ve made leg of lamb the ‘traditional’ way a few times, but figured it’d be a good time to see what would happen slow-cooking the meat in a water bath. Of course, I expected a nice medium-rare all the way around, but I wanted to see how much the long cooking time could break down the connective tissue to make some really tender meat.
At the market, I got a nice piece of lamb weighing in at 3-4 pounds. Given it was boneless, I wanted to take advantage of an opportunity to stuff the leg with some fresh herbs – rosemary, thyme and fresh garlic were the chosen aromatics. Of course, salt and pepper were crucial too.
Carefully I rolled the lamb back up and tied it with twine, tying it approximately every inch. This was probably the trickiest part for me since I really wanted to get it tied tightly and uniformly so that the herbs would stay stuffed.
Finishing with more salt and pepper and the residual herbs, it was time to vacuum seal!
Some online research suggested a cooking time of 12-24 hours for meat cooked medium-rare; I went all the way on the high end, cooking this about 26 hours at 129F.
After a full day, I removed the leg from its bag and dried it off completely with paper towels. Taking my torch to it, I seared it on all sides, being careful to work quickly so as not to actually cook any of the interior meat.
Voila! Slicing into the leg yielded a nice medium-rare meat. I served it with an arugula chimichurri (recipe here) and sauteed Brussels sprouts with chanterelles.
I was pretty happy with this lamb; it was relatively easy to make (just took a long time) and yielded moist, extremely tender meat. Almost too tender, I kind of wanted a little more bite…so I may reduce the cooking time slightly next time. The meat was very flavorful, and the extended cooking time allowed the garlic and herbs to really perfume throughout the whole leg. Delicious! This is definitely something I’d make again, especially for a large feast.
Nice job there Darin. It looks very tender and great pink color. Will have to try this out.
Thanks – you definitely should!
Looks delicious. This is going on to my shops vide to do list.
Let me know how it goes!
I have heard of the sous vide method, but how did you cook it for 26 hours- did you do it in the oven? Sorry if that seems like a stupid question, but I love lamb and the idea that you could have tender meat that is still medium rare is very appealing.
Hi Deborah! Sous vide cooking involves vacuum sealing the product and putting it into a controlled-temperature water bath for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, the oven doesn’t provide the same level of precision (among other differences).
I have tried the same and found that 8 hours at 58C is the optimum.
Thanks for the input!
hi Darin made this cooked it for 17 hours at 55c.Seared it in a smoking hot frying pan.One word…..wow.I don’t think I could cook it any other way now.Thanks Carl
Sounds amazing! Thanks for the feedback Carl!
Definitely gonna try this recipe a.s.a.p