I like to think of Sous Vide like a little crockpot in a bag. The polar opposite of the pressure cooker, sous vide is a great way to get perfectly cooked food every time. It uses a precise temperature-controlled water bath to cook meat, veggies, and everything in between to an exact specification. A sous vide machine such as the Joule or the Anova (both of which are my personal favorites) are essentially water circulators that keep your water at a specific temp over a given period of time.
Though often used in the restaurant world to ensure that each filet of salmon and every cut of beef is consistently cooked to perfection, sous vide in the home kitchen can seem a bit daunting. My first moment of confusion came when I was trying to figure out what cooking pot to use for the water bath. I settled for my big tamale steamer and hoped for the best. What I know now is that since the water isn’t reaching boiling temperatures and the food is safely sealed inside a baggie, you can use pretty much any bucket or bin you have lying around. (Within reason of course – the best containers are made from polycarbonate because a good amount of heat isn’t going to warp or destroy them). My personal favorite? A Home Depot bucket!
Makes 1 boneless leg of lamb. Total cook time is around 8 hours, so plan ahead!
for the lamb:
- 1 boneless leg of lamb (~4 lbs)
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp mustard powder
- 2 tsp mustard seed
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- salt + pepper to taste
for the reduction sauce:
- reserved juices
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp brown sugar
for the chimichurri:
- handful mint leaves (~1 oz)
- handful parsley sprigs (~1 oz)
- 1 medium shallot
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 red jalapeño
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- salt + pepper to taste
Kitchen Tools: sous vide circulator, water bath, broiler pan, spice grinder, frying pan, sous vide vacuum bag or 2 gallon ziplocs, binder clip, food processor
Place sous vide circulator in water bath and set to 131*F.
Score the fat on the outside of the lamb in a cross cut pattern as shown. Be careful not to cut too deep. Each cut should just barely reach through the fat to the meat below. In a small bowl, combine mustard powder with a hefty pinch of salt. Use your hands to rub the mustard powder and salt mixture into the scored fat on the outside of the meat.
Heat mustard and cumin seeds on medium-low heat until toasty and fragrant (less than one minute). Pulse seeds in a spice grinder until powdered. Combine spices, olive oil, salt + pepper into a small bowl.
Use your hands to spread the mixture along the inside of the boneless leg of lamb.
Use kitchen twine to truss the lamb as shown below. Try to get at least 4 loops around your lamb. This seals in all the good moisture and tasty flavors.
Place trussed lamb inside a sous vide vacuum bag or a double layer of gallon-sized ziplocs (my personal favorite) and use the water displacement method to release all the air from the bag. Zip the bag closed if using ziploc. Fold the sealed end an inch or two over the side of the cooking container and secure with a binder clip.
Set the circulator to 8 hours. Cover the top of the container with plastic wrap to minimize water evaporation. Let the circulator do its thing so that you can tackle everything else on your to do list!
When the lamb is just about finished in its bubble bath, preheat your broiler on low. Carefully remove the lamb from its bag, place it on top of your broiler pan. Place in the oven and broil for about 5-10 minutes, depending on how hot your broiler is. Lamb is done when the fat has charred slightly.
While your lamb is roasting under the broiler, pour its juices into a small saucepan, then add in brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Reduce sauce on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it coats the back of a spoon.
Combine all chimichurri ingredients in your food processor and pulse until fully combined but still chunky. Season with salt and pepper. (Alternatively you can chop all the herbs, garlic, jalapeño, and shallots, then combine with all the wet ingredients).
Let lamb rest for 20 minutes before slicing. Serve with chimichurri and reduction sauce. Bon Appetit!