I’m grinning from ear to ear, as a thank you for cat sitting my parents took note of my persistent hints and bought me a sous vide supreme. I can’t begin to tell you how much I have longed for this glorious machine.
So what to cook first? I’ve had a glut of beef and pork recently and lamb deserved some overdue attention. I have never quite been able to get the cooking of boneless lamb loin spot on – the loin is just so small that the faintest whiff of oven heat turns it well done on the outsides.
What a revelation, just 2 hours at 59C and I had meltingly tender pink lamb. As the lamb was cooking in its own juices the flavour was simply divine – much stronger than normal, but still without being overpowering. There was not even a hint of overcooked ends and edges.
I’ve paired the lamb with a take on petit pois à la française – adding some redcurrants at the end of cooking for some acidity. This is served with a potato fondant.
I was pushed for time a little so I part-cooked the vegetables and potatoes in the water bath, as opposed to fully cooking, finishing them off conventionally. I will give you this recipe as the result was fantastic.
Safe to say the beast has lived up to expectations!
Sous Vide Lamb, Fondant Potato & Redcurrant Petit Pois à la Française
For the Lamb: 2 Boneless Lamb Loins, 2 Tbsp Thyme & Rosemary Compound Butter (Made by combining softened butter with a chopped handful of each of the other ingredients)
For the Potatoes: 4 Large Potatoes, 50g Butter, 2 Bay Leaves, 2 Thyme Sprigs, 1 Bashed Garlic Clove, 1 Pint Vegetable Stock
For the Petit Pois: 250g Fresh Peas, 50g Sliced Pancetta, Handful of Button Onions (Peeled), 25g Butter, Small Handful of Mint (Chopped), 1 Small Punnet Redcurrants
1) Pre-heat the water bath to 59C. Seal the lamb loins together with the compound butter in a vacuum bag and place in the water bath.
2) For the fondants; cut four fondant shapes from the potatoes which are around one inch thick. Seal the potatoes in a vacuum bag together with the butter, bay leaves, thyme, garlic and some salt and pepper. Place the potatoes in the water bath.
3) For the peas; seal them in a vacuum bag with the butter, baby onions and some salt and pepper.
4) Cook the above preparations in the water bath for two hours. Before final serving follow the steps below to finish.
5) Take the potatoes out of the bath first. Unseal the bag and place the contents in a sauce pan with the vegetable stock. Cook over a medium heat until the stock has boiled away and the potatoes begin to fry in the butter, turn the heat down and turn occasionally to achieve an even brownness.
6) After the stock has boiled from the potatoes, take the lamb out the bag and seal all over in a hot griddle pan. Be careful not to seal for long or the beautifully pink meat will become overdone around the edges.
7) Whilst the lamb is cooking, prepare the peas by frying the pancetta in a little olive oil. Once browned, add the contents of the pea preparation from the water bath with a little splash of water. Once the peas have warmed, add the chopped mint and redcurrants, tossing to finish.
8) To serve, slice the lamb and serve atop the fondant potato, surround with the petit pois à la française.
You can easily make the preparations ready for the water bath up to two days in advance, leaving them in the fridge until you are ready to use. Of course, you need only cook the meat in the water bath, preparing the other elements in the traditional fashion. However, I found the vegetables to be perfectly al dente when cooked this way.
No doubt there will be plenty more sous vide adventures to come!