This is a great meal for a slow, cool Sunday afternoon—provided you have an immersion circulator for the sous vide process. If you don’t own one, Christmas is coming up and it could make your list—just sayin’. Sous vide, which means “under vacuum” in French, refers to the process of vacuum-sealing food in a bag, then cooking it to a very precise temperature in a water bath. This technique produces wonderful results that are impossible to achieve through any other cooking method.
Consistency. Because you cook your food to a precise temperature for a precise amount of time, you can expect very consistent results. Taste. Food cooks in its juices. This ensures that the food is moist, juicy and tender. Waste reduction. Traditionally prepared food dries out and results in waste. For example, on average, traditionally cooked steak loses up to 40% of its volume due to drying out. Steak cooked via precision cooking, loses none of its volume. Flexibility. Traditional cooking can require your constant attention. Precision cooking brings food to an exact temperature and holds it. There is no worry about overcooking.
It’s actually very affordable and easy to get started with sous vide cooking thanks to the recent availability of sous vide devices built for the home cook. We own a Joule which is the smallest sous vide tool on the market. But it’s also the most powerful. It heats to the perfect temperature—no more, no less—which means that your proteins won’t overcook, ever. Even if they cook for extra time.
As far as this recipe, by all means, feel free to use whatever dried herbs you happen to have on hand. Don’t have coriander? No biggie. Only have dried rosemary? Don’t sweat it. Create a taste profile that suits your own preferences. The amounts below indicate how much overall you’ll need.
To begin, season the leg of lamb liberally on both sides with kosher salt. Lay with the fat cap side down and score the top with a sharp pairing knife by dragging the knife across in diagonal lines both ways. Rub your herb mixture all over the scored side. Roll it up, and secure in place with butcher’s twine. Simply, vacuum seal the rolled leg of lamb and she’s ready for her water bath.
Our roast was only 2 1⁄2 pounds and we got 4-5 servings out of it, so a 5-pounder would yield 8-10 servings. It was delicious! We prefer our lamb medium-rare, but if you like yours less pink, adjust the immersion circulator to preheat the water bath temperature as needed.
Sous Vide Leg of Lamb with Salsa Verde
For the lamb:
- 3-5 lb. boneless leg of lamb
- 1 Tbsp. mustard seeds, lightly toasted
- 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds, lightly toasted
- 1 Tbsp. cumin seeds, lightly toasted
- 1 tsp. peppercorns
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 4 garlic cloves
- Leaves of 1 rosemary sprig
- Leaves of 2 thyme sprigs
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Ghee or butter for searing
For the salsa verde (optional):
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 tsp. flaked sea salt
- Juice of half a lemon
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- Using your immersion circulator, preheat water bath to 130° F.
- Add all the ingredients except the lamb, ghee, and salsa verde ingredients to a food processor or use a mortar and pestle to grind them into a paste.
- Season the leg of lamb liberally on both sides with additional kosher salt. Lay with the fat cap side down (you can trim this if you want) and score the top with a sharp pairing knife (this means dragging the knife across in diagonal lines both ways).
- Rub the herb mixture all over the scored side. Roll it up, and secure in place with butcher’s twine.
- Vacuum seal the rolled leg of lamb or add to a gallon-sized zipper top bag and remove all the air. Add to preheated water bath and cook for 3-5 hours.
- When done, remove from the water bath and bag. Pat leg of lamb as dry as possible with paper towels.
- Get a cast iron skillet searing hot—as hot as possible—and add enough ghee to coat the skillet. Sear the leg of lamb on all sides until golden brown. You may need to prop up the lamb roast with tongs to make sure it is browned all over.
- Let the leg of lamb rest for a moment on the cutting board. Prep the salsa verde by mixing together all ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Remove the twine from the leg of lamb and slice into 1/2 inch slices. Top with salsa verde and serve!
Recipe from Chelsea Cole, food blogger for A Duck’s Oven