Recipe By: Chef Eric
Serving Size: 2
Yield: 1, 8 Rib Rack of Baby Lamb
Lamb is defined as a sheep that is less than a year old, typically slaughtered between the ages of 4 and 12 months. Older sheep are called mutton and have a much stronger flavor with tougher meat that many find distasteful, which is a shame as I love mutton’s unique and full-flavored flesh. As a matter of fact I enjoy mutton so much that I have traveled to Owensboro, Kentucky on more than one occasion to feast on barbecued mutton, a local specialty that to my understanding is found nowhere else in the country. The meat was tender and bursting with flavor punctuated by hours spent over smoldering hardwood embers, creating something delicious and totally original, sigh, but I digress ;-)
The culinary eggheads say the first sheep were brought to North America by Spanish soldiers under the command of Cortez in 1519. The introduction of sheep into the commercial cattle herds of the western territories in the 1800s caused much bloodshed and social strife. This particularly rough time in our culinary history is considered by many to be one of the central reasons why lamb didn’t make it as a mainstay of the American palate as it has elsewhere in the world.
It isn’t that our culture doesn’t enjoy lamb. In the early 1900s, the federal government actually sanctioned genocide of certain varieties of sheep in a purported attempt to upgrade the quality of certain breeds. The Cotswold was the star. One of the oldest breeds, it was introduced to England over 2000 years ago by the Romans. Brought to the United States in 1832, the Cotswold was also the first purebred breed to be registered in the United States in 1878.
In my kitchen today it isn’t about lamb’s rich and varied history, it’s about the perfect meal for Easter. A lamb rack cooked low and slow the sous vide way resulting in rosy, moist, and tender meat perfumed simply with fresh rosemary and thyme.
A full 8 rib lamb rack needs to spend around 3 hours enjoying the warm 131°F/55°C circulated waters of the SV1. The lamb is basically cooked after one hour but it’s the extra two hours that transform a nice cut of meat into a truly remarkable and tender showstopper. When you’re ready to eat simply remove the rack from the bag and sear in a blazing hot, heavy cast iron skillet to crisp and you’re ready for a delicious bite out of history!
- 1, 2
pound Frenched Rack of Baby Lamb
- 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
- 1 tablespoon Black Pepper, Freshly Ground
- 1 tablespoon Thyme, Fresh, Minced
- 1 tablespoon Rosemary, Fresh, Minced
- 1 ounce Roasted Garlic Oil
- 1 ounce Balsamic Glaze (Optional)
1. Preheat the SV1 to your desired temperature. For Rare: 126°F for 1 to 2 Hours (52.2°C) Medium Rare: 131°F for 2 to 3 Hours (55.0°C) Medium: 140°F for 1 to 3 Hours (60.0°C)
2. Remove the rack from the packaging and pat dry. With the tip of a sharp bladed knife gently score the fat cap of the lamb rack at a 45° angle in a crosshatch or diamond pattern being careful to cut only through the fat not into the flesh. Generously season both sides of the rack with the kosher salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme.
3. Using a chamber or suction machine seal the rack in an appropriately sized vacuum pouch. Gently place the pouch into the SV1 water bath at your desired temperature for the suggested cooking time.
4. Carefully remove the lamb from the SV1 bath and remove the rack. Using a paper towel pat the lamb dry. Heat a large cast iron pan over high heat until smoking hot. Carefully sear the meat quickly and evenly until all sides are well browned in a bit of the garlic oil. This process should only take a minute or two as the lamb will still be hot from the water bath. It is important that you don’t overcook the meat, as we are just looking to obtain a rich brown crust. Alternatively, you could use a propane torch.
5. Remove from the skillet and transfer to a carving board. When carving you have a few choices. Starting with the bone-side-up, you may cut the rack of lamb in half or into 2-rib segments or individual chops. Serve with the remaining bag juices and a bit of the garlic oil. Garnish with a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme, or add a drizzle of balsamic glaze.