Monday, July 3, 2017

Rack of Lamb Sous-Vide

I have been dreaming about this moment for at least 4 yrs. My wife and I were dining up at the Metropolitan Grill  and I came across what has to be the best lamb I've ever eaten. I made some inquiries because this was no ordinary rack of lamb. Don't get me wrong I have prepared and have eaten a lot of lamb but none like this. Most lamb that I have eaten in the NW has been Australian lamb. No matter where you go from store to store, butcher to butcher it's always from Australia. I have ran across the occasional leg of lamb that comes from American farms but it's rare. Anyhow the waiter was nice enough to find out that the Lamb came from Anderson Farms in Oregon.  

Anderson farms supplies some local stores in Oregon but none in Seattle. They also distribute to all the fancy restaurants in the NW including Las Vegas. I won't go into all the details here but just know that Anderson Farms Lamb is top notch. The Lambs are grass fed, no antibiotics or growth hormones and no bi-products. Simply delicious meat. 

Oh....It's worth mentioning that I sourced this Lamb through Nicky USA. Twice a week they drive up to Seattle and drop off orders and since I don't mind spending lots of $$$$ on meat I placed a huge order. This place has been a dream come true for me!!! And everything they do is BIG!!!! I say go big or go home. 

If you're new to my posts know that I take a lot of photos. I do my best to record every aspect and moment of what I do. This is kind of a food diary. Anyhow here they are nicely packed up in vac bags.

More pics!!!!

So what's up with the grams scale? I'm a big fan of dry-brining for X amount of time. The advantages of dry-brining is moisture retention and taste. I covered some of it HERE in earlier posts and experiments. You can also read about Dry-Brining HERE which is a great read by Amazing Ribs Dot Com. Anyhow I multiplied the weight in grams by .60% and came up with 17 grams which was applied to the lamb. I made sure to get it in every nook and cranny. After applying the salt I placed in Vac bags. It will dry brine for at least 24 hours. Because of my schedule I went for a whole 30 hours.


These temps and times were not created in a vacuum. Although I've never Sous-Vide American Rack of Lamb before I have done plenty of Aussie Legs and Racks. I've played around with temps ranging from 126 f up to 133 f and times ranging from 4-24 hours. As we all know time and temps are about personal preferences. How pink do you like your meat? What texture do you like? I have a sweet spot (TEMP) for almost everything I cook now. All times and temps are vastly different too. Anyhow in the end it was about how the lamb felt in my mouth. The texture for me was very important and at the same time I didn't want to lose much moisture. I settled in on 130 f for 4 hours but not before the Warm-Aging was complete. You can read all about Warm Aging HERE. What to do? Heat your immersion circulator and water bath to 107 f and drop in your lamb....set temp now to 104 f for 2 hours. After the elapsed time set temp to 130 f and cook for 4 hours. 

At the completion of the cooking process COLD SHOCK the LAMB. How to cold shock? Dump Vac packs filled with lamb in container large enough to hold them and lots of ice and water. Or you could use the container you used for the cooking too. Anyhow shock for a few hours and refrigerate. You don't have to refrigerate if you don't want to. Just jump to the next step. The goal is to bring down the temp to avoid over cooking when they're seared. Note: I have of a lot of Blue Freeze Packs on hand for this exact situation. 

Out of the vac packs and dried off very well. They won't sear very well if they are not dry. I also gave them a dip in flour which will help with the browning and the crust. No pics for that so you will have to use your imagination. Note: Before I took them out of the vac packs I gave them a dip in 100 f tap water for abut 10 minutes to bring them up to almost room temp. 

In a screaming hot pan they go. I used my muscular well defined arm to press on the rack to ensure good a sear. I moved them all around getting good color everywhere. I wanted to render down some of that fat. Be-careful!!!! I got splattered a few times and it did not feel all that good. 

Pretty Damn good if I do say so myself. Note: since they went into the hot pan at room temp I knew the internal temp did not go above 130 f and as you recall this was temp we used to Sous-Vide.

Easy part coming up....Brush on some Dijon mustard or whatever mustard you want. The mustard will act like a glue for the bread crumb mixture we're going to be putting on. 

This next part is optional. I used naan bread as my bread crumbs. You can use whatever bread you want. Place bread in blender or food processor and make some bread crumbs. This next step is interesting. You need to come up with a spice mixture that you will add to the bread crumbs. I make up stuff all the time but if all you want is pepper go for it!!!! Since we dry-brined the Lamb we will not be adding in any salt. Here's the spice mixture I came up with.... I kept tasting it until I got it right. I used roughly 2 Tbl. Whole Coriander, 1 TBL Grains of Paradise (this will replace the black pepper), 1 TSP White Pepper, 2 TBL. Whole Cumin Seed, 1 TSP. Ceylon Cinnamon, 1/2 TSP. All Spice, 1/2 TSP. Cloves, 1 TSP. Lemon Peel, 1/2 TSP. Garlic Powder. Place everything in spice grinder and process until smooth. Taste and adjust. I adjusted the spice mixture several times so the above measurements are estimates. Place just enough breadcrumbs into the bowl with the spices that will allow you to completely cover the Rack of Lamb.

Coat the entire Lamb by pressing on the breadcrumb mixture. Make sure you get it evenly coated. Place on a pan and roast at 500-550 f degrees for a few minutes until top is slightly darkened. Maybe 4-7 minutes. 

Review- One of the best dishes I've ever made. I will not change a thing....ahhhh except this one thing. I should have Frenched the Rack of Lamb. Next time!!!

The Sauce 
Freaking awesome Sauce!!! Although I don't have an exact recipe I needed to talk about the dang thing. The sauce was the bomb, a home run. 

I love Black and Blue steak which is made with Blackberries so I thought it would go well with the Lamb with a few tweaks. You can look at some of the pics below but it won't help much with the preparation. I'm hoping to replicate it very soon so I can write it all down. 

Chop up a few shallots, Lots of green onion, a very sweet pear or two, about two cups of Blackberries, Some good quality Balsamic Vinegar and some Veal-Demi (or veggie stock).... a touch of coriander, salt and pepper to taste. Some butter, brown sugar and a touch of cream to finish.

Use the same skillet that you used to sear the lamb. Add some butter, the shallots a touch of salt and pepper and saute scraping the fond off the bottom of the skillet. Add green onions and pears and saute for a bit. Toss in the Blackberries and saute breaking up the Blackberries. Toss in at least a 1/3 of a cup of Balsamic Vinegar saute and mix everything up. After about 2 minutes add the Demi. You want to cook this down a bit until you can Coat the back of a spoon (Nappe). Toss in some coriander and if needed salt and pepper and keep adjusting until you get it right. Toss in some butter, brown sugar and a touch of cream. If the sauce gets to thick add some water and of course if it's not thick enough cook it down.