Seeing how I have never cooked Lamb using the Sous-Vide method before I took to the internet for insight. Douglas Baldwin of Practical Guide to Sous-Vide Cooking cooks his Leg of Lamb at 131 degrees for 24 hours. I have come across several blogs that have listed times from 8-12, 24, 26, 48 hours. I have read posts that suggests 8-12 hours of cooking because of the enzymatic forces at work. Cooking too long can adversely affect texture of the meat dramatically making it too soft. I think it depends on the meat personally. Short Ribs is a good example where long cooks are necessary to dissolve connective tissue.
|NEW ZEALAND LAMB|
The Food Lab wrote a great article on Lamb and is a great read.
I used traditional spices for the Lamb. I butterflied the Lamb open and created some additional pockets (making slits in the meat) in the meat to add extra paste flavor too. Before applying the past I coated lamb with Salt and Pepper. I made a olive oil paste out of Olive oil, Garlic, Rosemary, Thyme, Cilantro and Green onion. My biggest mistake was not sauteing everything first. Cooking Sous-Vide at very low temperatures did not allow the sweetness of the garlic to come out which is normally done at higher temperatures.
The tying process can be tricky because your goal is to create a perfect cylinder.
Knowing how to tie a butcher's knot is helpful. I salted and peppered with outside and coated it with some of the paste.
All Vacuumed seal and ready for the water bath.
I set the Sous-Vide at 131 degrees and decided to cook for 26 hours. Here is a picture of it floating in the water bath.
After 26 hours it's finally done. It looks very unappealing due to the Sous-Vide's inability to produce the Maillard reaction. Easily remedied by a hot grill, Saute pan or butane torch.
I used a Butane Torch to produce that very nice dark exterior that everyone is use to seeing. I should mention that I foiled a pan and put a rack on top before I used the torch. I wanted to avoid a fire. Additionally I removed the trussing string that held everything together.
After completely browned I completed that rest of the dishes and with the reserved juices that were collect in the Vacuumed bag I made a sauce from. I simply sauteed a shallot, created a roux, de-glazed with the reserved juices and added a Veal Demi-Glace.
Final thoughts. I was overall very happy with the Lamb but came away with this introspection. Everyone who makes Lamb has different temps and times for and at times are extremely different and most claim that it came out great. I think it is a matter of preference and most importantly where the Lamb came from.
The tenderest parts of this lamb were located near the larger fat pockets. The sections in which fat was scarce it was on the tougher side but still great. I might get entirely different results with a American Lamb or New-Zealand one. I will save that for my next blog.
Update- 11/25/14- Retrospectively now having done this a couple of times I would say less is more. The stuffing was really overpowering and I needed to lose a lot less. Still trying to figure that out. To mellow out the stuffing cooking first (saute) is really necessary.