Tag Archives: sous-vide

Sous Vide Rack of Lamb

For rack of lamb that’s evenly medium-rare from edge to edge, sous vide cooking is by far the best approach. It works because slow, precise cooking followed by high heat gives you perfectly even results with a nice dark crust. Basting with butter and aromatics during searing adds flavor to the lamb.

Lamb tends to be leaner and smaller than a steak, which means that it’s even more susceptible to accidental overcooking. All of this makes it an ideal candidate for cooking sous vide, which makes overcooking nearly impossible and perfectly edge-to-edge medium-rare results the norm.

With sous vide, the doneness of a lamb rack is by and large determined by the maximum internal temperature it reaches during cooking. For instance, so long as the interior does not rise above 130°F (54°C), it will never cook beyond medium-rare—which works for us!

The down side? It takes longer. A traditionally cooked rack of lamb goes from fridge to plate in about 30 minutes. A sous vide rack of lamb will take more than an hour, though, with sous vide cooking, this time is almost 100% hands-off. We add thyme or rosemary sprigs, along with sliced shallots and garlic cloves (but no added fats such as butter or oil) to the bags with the lamb during cooking. Adding the same aromatics to the pan as you sear will bolster that flavor further.

Because sous vide techniques cook from edge to edge with more or less perfect evenness, there is no temperature gradient inside. A medium-rare rack of lamb should be 130°F from the very center to the outer edge, with only the outer surfaces hotter after searing. Thus, sous vide lamb can be served immediately after searing.

So have all of your sides ready. Our lamb was paired with the most fabulous Cheesy and Creamy Fennel Gratin and perfectly roasted asparagus.

recipe title=”Sous Vide Rack of Lamb” servings=”4″ time=”2 hr, 15 min” difficulty=”easy”]

Ingredients

  • 2 (8-bone) racks of lamb, about 2 lbs. total
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Aromatics, such as fresh thyme or rosemary sprigs, sliced shallots, and sliced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable, canola, or rice bran oil
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Preheat a sous vide immersion circulator to desired final temperature according to chart above and in notes section. Season lamb generously with salt and pepper. Place racks in two individual sous vide bags, along with herbs, garlic, and shallots, and distribute evenly. Seal bags using a vacuum sealer, or seal plastic zipper-lock bags using the water displacement method. Place bags in preheated water bath (130°F/54°C for medium-rare) for 2 hours.
  2. Remove lamb from bags and carefully pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Add vegetable, canola, or rice bran oil to a heavy cast iron or stainless steel skillet set over the hottest burner you have. Preheat skillet until it starts to smoke. Gently place lamb, meaty side down, in skillet, using your fingers or a set of tongs. (Work in batches if pan is not large enough to accommodate both racks.) Add 1 tablespoon butter per rack, along with fresh aromatics. Sear first side, moving rack around pan and basting it with hot melted butter and herbs, until well browned, 30 to 45 seconds. Flip and brown second side, about 30 seconds longer. Transfer to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet to rest, then repeat with second rack if necessary, using fresh butter and aromatics.
  4. Lamb can be immediately carved and served as directed in step 5. Alternatively, allow it to rest for up to 10 minutes while you set the table. To re-crisp, reheat pan drippings until smoking-hot, then pour them over resting lamb racks just before carving and serving.
  5. Transfer cooked lamb to a cutting board. Carve it by holding rack upright (the bones make a good handle) and slicing down after every two rib bones with a sharp knife. You’ll have to work your knife around a little bit to find the joint between the vertebrae as you reach the bottom. (Don’t force your knife through a bone, or you may chip or dull it.) Serve immediately.
A cheesy fennel gratin and roasted asparagus were the perfect side dishes.

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[/recipe]

Recipe by J. Kenji López-Alt for Serious Eats

Sous Vide Steak with Caper-Anchovy Butter and Italian Green Beans

Thickness matters. It’s not just about portion control because without an adequately thick steak, it’s very difficult to get that perfect contrast between exterior and interior. Start with good quality rib-eye or strip steaks that are 1 1/2″ to 2″ thick (ours was 1 3/4″), and weigh in at around 1 1/2 pounds.

Very thin steaks will tend to overcook before they can finish developing a nice crust, even over the hottest fire you can build. With sous vide in particular, using a thicker steak will help you maintain more of that perfectly cooked interior during the searing process.

So the question begs, which cooking option will you use to make the steak for two: in a sous vide bath, cast iron skillet or grill? Cooking steak the traditional way, in a cast iron skillet or on the grill, leaves lots of room for error, and an over- or undercooked steak is a big mistake to make when there’s a prime-grade piece of beef on the line. Plus, the fact that it was Winter with snow on the ground sort of dissuaded us from grilling…

Sous vide cooking takes all of the guesswork out of the process, delivering steaks that are cooked to precisely the temperature you like each and every time. Not only that, because sous vide is such a gentle cooking process, you’ll be able to achieve steaks that are evenly cooked from edge to edge. As you might have guessed by now, we chose the sous vide method.

In a water bath, the doneness of a steak is by and large determined by the maximum internal temperature it reaches during cooking. For instance, so long as a strip steak does not rise above 130°F (54°C), it will never cook beyond medium-rare. With traditional cooking methods, there is a very short window of time during which your meat is perfectly cooked. A minute too long will mean overcooked meat. With sous vide cooking, on the other hand, that window of time is stretched into hours, which means your steak will be hot and ready to go whenever you’re ready to sear and serve it.

Remember this: It’s better to cook one large steak for every two people than to cook two smaller steaks.

Sous Vide Steak with Caper-Anchovy Butter

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For the Compound Butter

  • 1 anchovy fillet, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. chopped garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. capers, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Steak

  • 1.5 lbs. rib-eye or NY strip steak, 1 1/2 to 2-inches thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, split in half
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Mash the anchovy fillet into a paste on a cutting board with the side of a chef’s knife. Sprinkle the garlic with a pinch of kosher salt and mash it into a paste.
  2. Put the butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave it on high in 10-second bursts until it just begins to melt. Mash the butter with a fork and stir in the anchovy, garlic, parsley, capers, lemon zest, and a few grinds of black pepper. Set aside.
  3. Fill a large pot about 3 quarters of the way full with water. Attach a sous vide unit and set for 129°.
  4. While the water is heating, salt and pepper the steak and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes. Put steak in a gallon ziploc bag, add garlic, thyme bay leaf and olive oil. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible and massage contents to distribute evenly.
  5. Place the bag in the heated water once it reaches temperature. Allow to cook for 1 1/2 hours. Remove steak from bag.
  6. Heat a dry cast iron or carbon steel skillet over high heat. Sear the steak until you achieve a nice crust on all sides and edges; about two minutes per side.
  7. Cut the steak at a diagonal against the grain into 1/2-inch thick slices on a moated cutting board to catch the juices.
  8. Move the sliced steak to a serving platter, drizzle with accumulated juices and serve the sliced steak topped with dollops of the butter, passing around any remaining butter.

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Italian Green Beans with Tomatoes and Balsamic

This is a speedy version of slow-cooked Italian green beans, elegant in its simplicity. Sauté the haricots verts quickly to preserve their delicate texture, then toss them with a sauce of plum tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.

Italian Green Beans with Tomatoes and Balsamic

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 lb. haricots verts, trimmed
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, roughly chopped and puréed in a food processor
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano,for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until bright green and just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge in a large bowl of ice water. Let cool for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and set aside
  2. Heat the oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes and vinegar, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper, and cook, stirring until the mixture reduces by half, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the beans to the pan and cook until warmed through and coated with the tomato mixture, about 1 minute.
  5. Taste the beans and season with salt and pepper if needed; garnish with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano if desired. Serve immediately.

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This recipe is excerpted from Big Buy Cooking.