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An Easy Guide to Sous Vide Rack of Lamb

Sous Vide Rack of Lamb

Sous Vide Rack of Lamb

Sous vide cooking is becoming more and more popular with home cooks all the time.  I’ve been using it for about 2 years now and just in that time, I’ve seen a huge amount of growth in it.  I actually recently read an article on Buzzfeed that included Sous Vide as a cooking trend for 2017 so we’ll see how that plays out.

I’m not really surprised in it’s popularity at all.  It’s such a great way to cook and ensure you get perfect and delicious results every time. I mostly use it to cook steak but there are so many different things you can cook sous vide.  Lately I’ve been doing a lot of burgers with it as well.  The appliances are also becoming more and more affordable with many different brands selling immersion circulators.  I use the Nomiku and if you are thinking of purchasing one, feel free to use my code “thechefdan” for a special discount on their website here.

On to the lamb.  I think for a lot of people, cooking a rack of lamb can be a little intimidating.  It’s not particularly hard, but I can definitely see why that perception exists.  It’s a lot of pressure and is something that you don’t want to screw up.  The same is true of any large roast, especially an expensive cut like rack of lamb. But when using Sous Vide, you don’t have to worry about screwing up the meat.  You just set the water to your desired temperature, and can be confident that the meat will perfectly cook.

Sous Vide Rack of Lamb

If buying the lamb at your butcher, ask them to french the rack of lamb.  This involves trimming most of the meat and fat between the bones to expose them.  If the lamb is already prepared in a grocery store and packaged, don’t worry if there is a bit of fat left on the bones, I actually prefer a little bit of fat left on anyway as you can tell from the pictures.

As far as the timing goes for cooking the lamb, I usually like to leave my meat in the water bath for a longer, rather than shorter time.  For a full rack like this, I would suggest anywhere from 4-8 hours.  It won’t cook past your desired temperature but it will become more tender as it cooks longer.  I also like my lamb around medium rare and find that 131°F is the perfect temperature but feel free to go higher or lower depending on your preference.

Sous Vide Rack of Lamb

If you’re into cooking Sous-Vide, you’ve probably noticed a lot of recipes involve shocking the bag in ice water after it’s done.  If you’re searing your meat right away, this step is optional but I still tend to do it as it cools the meat down and ensures you don’t continue to cook it when searing.  If you plan to sear the meat at a later time, shocking in ice water is intended to quickly chill the meat down to a safe temperature before putting it in the fridge.

When searing my Sous-Vide meat, I always use a cast iron skillet and lots of butter.  You can use any high-heat oil as a substitute and if you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can use a bbq or do it under the broiler.

I like rack of lamb as an appetizer where everyone gets 2-3 ribs, but you easily make this a main course or smaller snack depending on how you want to serve it.  I also like to serve it with a red wine reduction, mint chimichurri, or mint yogurt sauce.

Sous Vide Rack of Lamb

Sous Vide Rack of Lamb

Ingredients

  • Frenched rack of lamb
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 4-5 sprigs of rosemary
  • Unsalted butter, for searing
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper

Method

Start by filling a large pot or cooking safe container with water and attaching your immersion circulator. Set it to 131°F for medium rare. Pat the racks of lamb dry with paper towel and place them into large freezer safe Ziplock bags and seal using the water displacement method.  Alternatively, seal them using a vacuum sealer with food safe bags.

Once the water is at temperature, place the sealed lamb into the water bath ensuring it is fully submerged.  Cover the cooking vessel with foil or saran wrap and allow it to cook for about 6 hours. After the elapsed time, carefully remove the bag and place it into a large bowl of ice water for 5 minutes and then remove the lamb from the bag and pat dry with paper towel.

Pre-heat your cast iron skillet over high heat.  In the meantime, liberally season all sides of the lamb with salt and pepper.  When the skillet is very hot, melt in butter and then carefully place in the lamb.  Add the garlic cloves and rosemary to the melted butter as well to baste the lamb as it sears.  Sear each side of the lamb for about 1 minute until deeply browned and nicely charred.

Slice the lamb into individual ribs by cutting between each bone to expose the perfectly cooked interior.

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Shredded Chicken Tacos

Shredded Chicken Tacos

Firstly, I want to wish everybody a Happy New Year.  It’s hard to believe that it is 2017 and that this is the third year that I have been creating and sharing recipes with all of you!  I just got back from a trip to Mexico so I thought tacos would be appropriate for the first recipe of the year.

Shredded chicken tacos

There are literally infinite ways to make tacos and almost anything can be used as the filling.  From classics like fish to more unique ideas like grilled avocado or Sriracha fried chicken, I think that anything tastes better when eaten in a tortilla.  As much as I like trying new unique tacos, I think that the simpler is better and it doesn’t get much simpler than shredded chicken.

Simply shredding up some grilled chicken and topping it with a bit of fresh salsa would make a great taco, but creating a deep and flavorful sauce that the chicken is cooked in takes it to the next level.  The amount of flavor you can build in a relatively short period of time for this sauce makes it worth it any day.

Since the base of these tacos is already wet, I tend to keep the toppings to a minimum as opposed to if I was using flank steak or beer battered fish.  These tacos are totally delicious and satisfying on their own but I like to put out a few toppings to give people option when building their tacos. Thinly sliced jalapeños, shaved red onion, shredded cabbage, and cilantro leaves all make great toppings to add a refreshing bite to the tacos and they help create some texture.

Shredded chicken tacos

When it comes to tortillas, you can use either flour or corn, whichever you prefer.  I like both but I much prefer corn tortillas when they are charred.  If you have a gas stove, throw them right on the burner for a perfect char.  If I’m not charring the tortillas I usually stick with flour, which is what I did with these.

What I love about these tacos, and tacos in general is that they are suitable for so many different occasions.  They make for a relatively quick weeknight meal that everyone will enjoy but they also work perfect for dinner parties or can be set up as a taco bar for a larger party if you increase the recipe.

I wish that I had gotten a few more pictures of these tacos but as you will find out, they are incredibly delicious and not easy to resist.

Shredded Chicken Tacos

Serves 6-8 people

Ingredients

  • 4 bone in skin on chicken breasts (skinless and/or boneless could be used as well)
  • 1 can (16 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 3-4 chilis in adobo sauce (from a can), finely chopped
  • 1/2 spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf, dried
  • Flour tortillas
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
   Toppings
  • Sliced jalapeños
  • Shredded cabbage dressed in lime juice
  • Shaved red onion
  • chopped cilantro
  • sour cream
  • lime wedges

Method

Season all of the chicken with salt and pepper and preheat olive oil in heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken skin side down until browned, about 2-3 minutes (or until golden brown) and then flip and brown the other side.  Remove chicken to plate and set aside.

Lower heat to medium.  In the remaining oil and rendered chicken fat, add Spanish onion and a big pinch of salt.  Cook until softened, 5-7 minutes stirring often.  Add in the chopped adobo peppers along with garlic and bay leaf and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring often.  Once the onion and adobo mixture is cooked down, place the chicken back into the pan, skin side up, along with any juices from the plate.  Pour in the tomato sauce around the chicken and try to stir everything together around the chicken. Lower heat and bring the sauce to a light simmer and cover the pan.  Cook for about 20 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165°F.

After 20 minutes, carefully remove the chicken to a board and shred the meat off the bone using two forks.  Continue to shred until desired consistency is reached.  Ensure that there are no bones in the shredded chicken.  Return the shredded chicken to the sauce and stir everything together.  Season it to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, either transfer the chicken mixture to a separate dish or serve it right out of the pan.  Serve the chicken along with your desired toppings and tortillas and allow everyone to build their own tacos.

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