Lamb Loin, Barley, Herbs

Lamb Loin, Barley, Herbs

A delicious combination. Lamb Loin is served with charred scallions, gremolata, a port and barley jus and Crowdie cheese blended with heather honey.

The recipe for Gremolata is taken from my recipe for Lamb Leg and Gremolata. Great served with roasted new potatoes mixed with caramelised onions.

Lamb Loin, Barley, Herbs

Lamb Loin, Barley, Herbs
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Sauce: 50g Barley, 150ml Port, 500ml Vegetable Stock, Reserved Lamb Juices, Sea Salt, Cracked Black Pepper

For the Lamb and Accompaniments: 2 Lamb Cannons (From the Single Loin), 8 Scallions (Washed and Trimmed), Prepared Gremolata, 75g Crowdie Cheese (Or Similar Soft Curd Cheese), 1tsp Heather Honey, Sea Salt, Cracked Black Pepper

Method:

1) Make the sauce. Wash the barley through twice and place in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour or until tender. Drain from the cooking liquid and reserve the liquid. Place the port in a small saucepan over a high heat and reduce to a syrup. Add the barley and reserved cooking liquor. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half. Set aside.

2) Prepare the Crowdie by mixing with the heather honey and setting aside.

3) Season the lamb and cook sous vide at 60c for 1 hour before pan searing or pan sear then oven roast until cooked to your liking. Allow the lamb to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

4) Whilst the lamb is resting pour the resting juice into the sauce, reheat and season to taste, stirring well to combine. Char the scallions over a high heat in the same pan as you seared the lamb for 2 minutes each side or until tender and well coloured.

5) Slice the lamb and serve with the Crowdie, charred scallions, barley sauce and a good sprinkling of the prepared gremolata.

Enjoy!

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Lamb Loin, Onion, Truffle and Herbs

Lamb Loin, Onion, Truffle and Herbs

A delicious pairing of lamb loin, onion purée, truffle oil and gremolata.

Great served with sprouting broccoli, this is an impressive dish to share with friends!

Lamb Loin, Onion, Truffle and Herbs
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Lamb: 2 Boneless Lamb Loins, 25g Unsalted Butter, 1 Rosemary Sprig, 1 Thyme Sprig, Cracked Black Pepper, Sea Salt

For the Onion Purée: 2 Large Onions, 50g Unsalted Butter, 175ml Double Cream, 4 Rosemary Sprigs, Sea Salt

For the Gremolata: 25g Dried Breadcrumbs, 1tbsp Chopped Tarragon, 1tbsp Chopped Parsley, 1tsp Chopped Basil, 1tsp Chopped Lemon Rind, 4tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

To Garnish: Steamed and Buttered Broccoli, Sea Salt Flakes, White Truffle Oil

Method:

1) Prepare the onion purée by sweating the onion in the butter with the rosemary in a saucepan over a low heat for 30 minutes (don’t allow to colour). Add the double cream and boil for 2 minutes. Remove the rosemary and transfer the mixture to a blender. Blend until smooth and pass through a sieve into a clean pan. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.

2) Prepare the gremolata by combining all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a small bowl. Combine with the olive oil just before serving.

3) Cook the lamb sous vide at 59/60C with the thyme and rosemary for 1 hour before flash frying in the butter. Alternatively season and cook the lamb in the butter, thyme and rosemary in a large frying pan over a high heat for around 5 minutes each side or until cooked to your liking. Allow the lamb to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

4) Serve the lamb with some warmed onion purée, gremolata, steamed and buttered broccoli and a few drops of truffle oil. Garnish with sea salt flakes.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooked Duck Breast

Slow Roasted Duck
 
A well cooked duck is a magnificent thing – deliciously crisp fat and rich, gamey meat . I have always loved incorporating acidic fruits into savoury dishes and duck works brilliantly with nearly all members of the ‘berry’ family!

The best way to cook duck is to remove the legs and confit and cook the breast on the bone as a crown. I detail instructions below for cooking a crown of duck sous vide.

For inspiration, I paired the slow cooked duck breast with:

Bread Sauce
Duck Gravy
Pickled Blackberries
Confit duck leg with peas, lettuce and mint
 
Slow Cooked Duck Breast

Sous Vide Duck Crown
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 Duck Crown (1 Duck – Legs, Wings and Wishbone removed)
2 tsp Ground Mace
4 tbsp Olive Oil
25g Unsalted Butter
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method:

1) Pre heat the water bath/sous vide machine to 62C.

2) Score the skin of the duck breasts and rub the ground mace into the breasts. Place a large pan on a high heat – add half the olive oil and sear the crown breast side down until the fat is golden and well rendered (approximately 5-10 minutes).

3) Remove from the pan and allow to cool.

4) Vacuum pack the duck crown in a large vacuum bag. Place in the water bath and allow to cook for 1 1/2 hours.

5) Remove the crown from the water bath and the vacuum bag. Slice the breasts off the crown.

6) Place a pan over a high heat and add the olive oil. Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper. Sear skin side down for 2-3 minutes to crisp up the fat. Add the butter to the pan and turn the duck breasts over. Baste with the butter for 1 minute.

7) Remove the duck breast from the pan. Allow to rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

Enjoy!

Oxtail Croquettes (Sous Vide)

Sous Vide Beef Fillet & Tail

 

This dish was a real labour of love! I was determined to use oxtail in something other than a casserole or stew and croquettes fitted the bill perfectly when I had some beautiful fillet in the fridge.

These croquettes do take considerable time and effort to make, but you will be rewarded with the most succulent meat encased in a deliciously crisp shell.

The oxtail was cooked sous vide for 12 hours at 82 degrees C before being shredded and combined with a little seasoning and chives.

The croquettes were fantastic with some slow-cooked caramelised onions but would make an amazing base for a rich risotto!

I paired the croquettes with sous vide beef fillet (56 degrees C for 1 hour), watercress emulsion, carrot purée, braised leek, caramelised onions and port reduction.

Oxtail Croquettes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 Oxtail – Cut into sections
1 Garlic Clove
1 Bay Leaf
2 Thyme Sprigs
2 Tbsp Chopped Chives
Salt and Pepper
Plain Flour
Beaten Egg
Panko Breadcrumbs

Method:

1) Vacuum pack the oxtail with the garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Sous Vide at 82C for 12 hours.

2) Remove from the water bath and shred the meat. Combine with the chopped chives and season well with salt and pepper. Transfer the shredded oxtail onto a large piece of cling film and roll into a thin log. Chill in the fridge overnight.

3) Pre heat a fryer to 190C. Remove the oxtail from the fridge and cut into equal sections around 3-4cm in length. Remove the cling film. Dust the oxtail pieces with flour and roll in the beaten egg. Roll each section in panko breadcrumbs.

4) Fry at 190C for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy!

In Search of the Perfect Fries

 

I’m going to stick my neck on the line here – McDonald’s fries are good. So good in fact that I just had to attempt to recreate them at home.

Fries just don’t get much better – crisp and fluffy with a big smack of salt. Not only do they retain their crispness for a commendable time after frying, they are heavenly moreish. For me, they are the perfect fries.

I am making a big distinction here between fries and chips – it is best not to get the two confused. Fries are the skinny ones, chips the fat. Fries are best with a burger and chips (especially triple cooked) best with a steak. Nothing will ever beat the satisfaction of tucking into a large bowl of chips. Sometimes; however, fries are the best option.

First and foremost, the star of the show – the potato. With a myriad of varieties on offer it is sometimes impossible to choose. But, of course, only certain varieties are perfectly suited to ‘chipping’. We need a potato which is widely available and has a fairly high dry matter content – meaning there is less moisture in the potato which may turn the fries limp! Maris Piper fit the bill. For those that are interested, The European Cultivated Potato Database is a fantastic online resource.

Now that we have the potato, it is all down to the cooking. Searching for those elusive McDonalds fries, it struck me, why not do as they do? A quick search and all questions were answered. Firstly this article, in part by a former McDonalds employee, explains the factory procedure the french fries go through before reaching the restaurant freezers. Daunting at first, until I found this little gem – an article by Serious Eats’ J. Kenji López-Alt. An amazing step by step guide on creating the perfect McDonalds french fries at home – if you haven’t already read, I urge you to.

The perfect fries, much like the perfect chips, is a three-step process. First the cut potato must be poached in water for 15 minutes at 76.5C – the perfect temperature to par-cook without breaking down the starches. After being dried, the chips are then fried at 182C for 50 seconds. I then froze the chips at this stage before the final frying. Before serving, fry at 190C for 3 ½ minutes, then drain and salt.

Stage One Complete

I am fortunate to have a Sous Vide Supreme in the cupboard to poach the chips at exactly 76.5C. However, I revert you to the Serious Eats article for a more conventional first step! Don’t scrimp with the salt (I doused mine in Himalayan pink salt) and you will have the perfect batch of french fries to savor.

Why not make a big batch to stage 2, freeze, then pull out the freezer for their final fry when required!

French Fries
Serves 4
Ingredients:
750g Maris Piper Potatoes, Peeled and Chipped
Vegetable Oil
Sea Salt

Method:
1) Store the fries in cold water between peeling and chipping. Poach fries in a water bath (loose) at 76.5C for 15 minutes. Remove and drain.
2) Pat the fries dry with kitchen towel before frying in vegetable oil at 182C for 50 seconds. Probably best to complete this stage in batches. Drain the fries.
3) Freeze the fries at this stage for use later. Alternatively, continue to the next step.
4) Fry in 190C oil for 3 ½ minutes, or until very lightly browned. Drain and season liberally with salt.

Enjoy!

Sous Vide Venison, Parsnip Chips


 

October is the best month of the year – Venison season and my birthday month, all topped off by Halloween celebrations! Venison is my favourite game meat and the one I cook most often. It is a truly beautiful meat – a perfect balance of tenderness and gamey flavour (which doesn’t over-power).

Loin is a perfect showcase for sous vide cooking and has proved the most appreciative recipient. Cooking for 1 hour at 61C gives perfect results. I then rolled the venison in Taste No. 5 powder before quickly searing to give a greater depth of flavour – but it would be equally delicious without.

I’ve recently discovered smoked sea salt and I’m an instant convert. Sprinkle a little on the venison and drizzle over some Oro De Bailen before serving – perfection (and very little work)!

I craved something starchy and fried with this but I’ve had a glut of tripe cooked chips recently. To save my guilt I knocked up a quick batch of parsnip chips – recipe included.

Sous Vide Venison, Parsnip Chips

Serves 2

Ingredients:
For the Venison: 500g Trimmed Venison Loin, 1tbsp Butter, 1 Thyme Sprig, 1 Garlic Clove Bashed, Taste No. 5 Powder, Smoked Sea Salt, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the Chips: 2 Large Parsnips, 1tbsp Plain Flour, 1tsp Cayenne Pepper, 4tbsp Vegetable Oil, Sea Salt, Black Pepper

Method:
1) Pre-heat the water bath to 61C. Make a herb sachet by wrapping the thyme and garlic in cling film and cutting off the ends. Vacuum pack the venison with the butter and herb sachet. Place in the water bath and cook at 61C for 1 hour.
2) In the meantime, make the parsnip chips. Pre heat the oven to 210C. Add the oil to a medium baking tray and place in the oven to heat.
3) Cut the parsnips into even sized chips and place in a large pan of salted cold water. Bring the water to the boil, boil for two minutes then drain the parsnips.
4) Place the parsnips in a bowl with the flour, cayenne, a little salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Cook the chips in the hot oil for around 30 minutes or until crisp, turn half way through cooking. Keep warm until the venison is ready.
5)  Once the venison is ready, remove from the water bath and the vacuum bag. Sprinkle with Taste No. 5 powder and sear quickly in a little olive oil in a very hot pan.
6) To serve, slice the venison, sprinkle with a little smoked sea salt and drizzle with good quality extra-virgin olive oil. Serve the parsnip chips on the side.

Sous Vide Poached Apples

 

Looking for something to pair with pork tenderloin, I stumbled across this recipe in Thomas Keller’s ‘Under Pressure’ book – the gospel on sous vide cooking! The apples are shown in the photo with homegrown swiss chard stems.

This is a fantastic way to poach apples, which will ensure they retain their shape whilst being cooked through and soft. The flavour of the wine really permeates the apple, making them even more delicious! By making the poaching liquor first, you can pop the apple circles in straight away – stopping them from oxidizing without the need for lemon juice.

To vacuum pack liquids in a household vacuum sealer, place the bag of apples and liquor inside another vacuum bag, folding over the top of the first. When vacuum packing, press the manual seal button when the liquid begins to be drawn to the top of the bag.

Once they have been cooked they can be kept in the fridge in a sealed container with their cooking liquor for a few days. I am sure similar results could be achieved by poaching in a pan if you keep a close eye on the heat.

As well as serving with pork, these would make a fantastic addition to cocktails (if you cut the balls a little smaller).

Sous Vide Wine Poached Apples

To Make 15 Medium Balls

Ingredients:

3 Granny Smith Apples

25ml Dry White Wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)

25ml Water

25g Caster Sugar

Method:

1) First make the poaching liquor by bringing the water, wine and sugar to the boil until the sugar has dissolved. Place over an ice bath to ensure it cools completely.

2) Next, cut the top and bottom off the apples and peel. Cut semi-circles or circles (depending on the size of your apples) from the apples with a melon baller. Place these in the poaching liquor.

3) Place the apples and their liquor in a vacuum bag then seal. If using a household non-chamber vacuum sealer, place this bag inside another and vacuum pack, pressing the manual seal button when the liquid begins to be drawn to the top of the bag.

4) Cook at 85C for 30 minutes. Place in an ice bath when cooked to ensure they cool completely (which also helps to maintain their colour).

5) Store the apples in a sealed container in their liquor until ready to use.

Sous Vide Lamb

 

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

Serves 4

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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!