Due to the popularity of a certain sock puppet in the '80s, lamb chops seem to be the cut of young sheep that gets the most play. Lamb steaks, however, are definitely worth your time and, when cooked sous vide, pretty much impossible to mess up.
This is part of Will It Sous Vide? the column where I usually make whatever you want me to with my immersion circulator.
Lamb steaks are, as one might guess, a cut that eats like a tender beef steak but — and this may shock you — tastes like lamb. I find the flavour to be much milder than that of a chop, so it might be a good gateway lamb for you, if chops have proven too gamey in the past.
Just as with a beef steak, the precisely controlled temperature of the water bath means you’re unlikely to overcook your lamb — you’d have to leave it in there for a very long time — and all the tasty, meaty juices and marinades stay in the bag, meaning your steak has more flavour, and you have the beginnings of an excellent, easy-to-throw-together pan sauce.
In terms of meaty sous vide projects, this a relatively quick one. It requires a little sautéing and searing, but it’s all done in a single pan, right down to the sauce. To make your own juicy lamb steak (which are usually big enough for two), you will need:
- 1 lamb steak
- 3 tablespoons of butter divided
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 sprig of rosemary, removed from the stem and chopped
- 1/2 cup red wine (Look for anything that says “good with hearty meats” on the label.)
- Salt and pepper
Set your water bath temperature to 57C, then season the lamb with salt and pepper and set it aside.
In a large stainless steel pan, melt the first tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallot, garlic and rosemary, and cook until the shallots are soft and slightly caramelised, the garlic is lightly golden, and the rosemary is fragrant. Scrape everything into a 4L freezer bag, and set that aside.
Heat your pan as hot as it can get, then sear the steak briefly on each side until it has a light crust, paying particular attention to any fat along the sides. (You may have to use tongs or a dish towel to hold it on its side.)
Transfer the steak to the bag with your aromatics, and pour the wine into the hot pan. Scrape up the delicious fond in the pan, let the wine reduce by half, and pour that into the bag as well.
Remove excess air from the bag using the water displacement method, then cook in the water bath for at least one hour, or up to three.
Remove the steak from the bag, taking care to scrape off any garlic and shallots, keeping them in the bag with the juices. Pat the steak dry, then sear once more in a screeching hot pan with another tablespoon of butter.
Once the steak has a nice crust, transfer it to a plate, remove the pan from the heat, and add your final tablespoon of butter to the pan, along with the juices and aromatics from the bag.
Stir everything together to make a luscious, shallot-heavy sauce, pour it on your steak, and serve with some roasted mushrooms. Take a bite, and ask yourself, “Lambchop who?”