Recipe: Sous Vide Lamb Leg Steaks

  By Jack Lawson    

May 5, 2020

Lamb can be a challenging meat to work with at the best of times. Its strong flavour is divisive, even if its seasonal connotations are grand. Lamb leg steaks are an easy, more affordable option compared to other traditional cuts - like chops. Even better, trimming the fat off is as easy as cutting along the fat cap if you like your lamb less lamby.

  • Prep: 1 hr
  • Cook: 3 hrs 10 mins

Ingredients

2 medium lamb leg steaks, mine were just under 1.5 lbs total

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp cold butter (+1 tbsp if you prefer a runnier pan-sauce during the Final Sear)

2 tbsp dried rosemary, or 2 sprigs of fresh

1 tbsp dried thyme, or 1 sprig fresh

3 shallots finely diced

3 gloves of garlic, crushed or sliced depending on preference

1 pinch of fennel seeds

1/2 cup stock, or a dry red wine of your preference (E.g. Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc)

1 tbsp seedy Dijon mustard

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1Begin by seasoning lamb shanks with salt, pepper and a light drizzle of olive oil

2Let sit for between 1 - 4 hours to tenderize the lamb

3While waiting, set water bath to 136 degrees Fahrenheit

Pre-Searing

1Heat a large skillet until ripping hot

2When you can feel the heat radiating off your pan add in your 3 tbsp of olive oil

3Once shimmering lay your lamb leg steaks into the oil away from you

4Brown quickly, no more than two minutes per side. Pre-searing like this helps cut down on long cook times, and we'll be doing a second sear later on.

5After both sides are browned remove the lamb leg steaks from the pan and return to your vacuum sealable bag

Pan-Sauce

1Using the fond from your pre-sear as a base, add 3 finely diced shallots, 1 tbsp of cold butter and combine

2As the shallots begin to turn see through at the edges add in the rosemary, thyme, garlic and pinch of fennel seeds

3Stir continuously in your skillet - when the garlic is fragrant and you can just begin to smell the fennel add in your 1/2 cup of stock or dry red wine

4Continue to whisk as you add in 1 tbsp of grainy Dijon mustard

5When the sauce begins to thicken to where your spoon or whisk clears a trail at the bottom of the skillet kill the heat and add your second tablespoon of butter (feel free to cube this one if you'd like)

6Whisk constantly, making sure that the pan-sauce doesn't break - if it begins to separate add a touch of water and it should reform

7Once the sauce reaches your desired thickness add to the same vacuum sealable bag as the lamb leg steaks along with 1 bay leaf

Sous Vide

1Seal closed your vacuum sealable bag, or use a zip-lock bag and the water displacement method

2Submerge your vacuum sealed bag in your water bath

3Let cook for 2 hours for medium-rare or 3 hours for medium

The Final Sear

1Heat your skillet until it's ripping hot

2When done cooking, remove the vacuum sealed bag from the water bath and take out the lamb leg steaks with a pair of tongs

3Add the lamb leg steaks to your screeching hot pan along with your final tbsp of butter

4Much like with a beef steak, use a small spoon to baste the lamb with the butter to further develop a great crust

5Flip after 1- 2 minutes, or when you can lift the lamb steaks off the bottom of the pan without sticking, and cook for an additional 30 seconds or so on the other side

6For extra richness, combine the contents of your vacuum sealed bag and 1 absolutely final tbsp of butter. Since this is already a rich meal, you can definitely just add the drippings to a skillet and reduce until you reach your desired consistency - just be careful, if using the same pan as your lamb leg steaks prepare for both a few tongues of flame and a burst of steam

7Plate with lamb shanks, drizzled in pan sauce and serve with a dollop of mint jelly. Enjoy!

The distintive "gameyness" in lamb comes almost entirely from its fat content. As such, if you want your lamb to be less overpowering make sure to trim off as much excess fat as your can - like the fat cap on each steak, for instance.

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