Look no further than sous vide leg of lamb if you’re looking for a show-stopping meal.
This flavorful cut of meat is sous vide slowly, then seared to perfection, sliced, and served in a Mediterranean rice bowl.
Tender, impossibly juicy, and simple enough for a weeknight but elegant enough to serve to guests!
- New York Strip and Ribeye: What is the Difference?
- How to Reheat Steak without drying it out?
- How Long to Smoke Sausage?
WHY THE SOUS VIDE METHOD WORKS WELL FOR LEG OF LAMB?
Consider this: tender, juicy sous vide leg of lamb that slowly cooks in a water bath while you go do something else.
In a nutshell, that is the beauty of sous vide cooking! You can season and marinate the lamb a day or two ahead of time, then place it in a preheated water bath with a sous vide precision circulator and walk away.
When you return, the lamb has been cooked to the precise temperature you set the circulator to!
The only thing left to do is reverse sear the lamb leg to get a golden brown crust. Slice it, serve it (we’re putting it in Mediterranean rice bowls with tzatziki! ), and enjoy!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN LEG OF LAMB?
Lamb has a reputation for being “gamey,” but I haven’t found this to be the case.
I believe (no, I know) it’s because I’ve been purchasing my lamb from a reputable source: Porter Road.
Spare no expense when purchasing boneless leg of lamb – save it for boneless skinless chicken breasts!
And, while we’re on the subject, make sure your leg of lamb is boneless. If you buy from a butcher directly, they can do this for you.
This makes it easier to handle and allows us to smother it in a delicious garlicky, herb mixture before rolling it up!
INGREDIENTS FOR SOUS VIDE LEG OF LAMB
- To season the lamb, use Kosher salt.
- Garlic: This herb adds a lot of flavor to the herb mixture.
- Fresh rosemary and oregano: Fresh thyme can be substituted or added as well!
- Lemon: A refreshing citrus flavor.
- To season the lamb, use freshly ground black pepper.
- Crushed red pepper flakes: Adds a spicy kick.
- To help make a paste with the other spices and seasonings to marinate the lamb, use extra virgin olive oil.
- A boneless leg of lamb: This will be sold already tied up with butcher’s twine at most grocery stores and butchers to help keep its shape during cooking.
You’ll also need some paper towels to pat dry the lamb leg before seasoning with spices and vacuum sealing it.
You’ll also need a sous vide circulator and a vacuum seal bag (or a Ziplock bag if using the water displacement method – more on this below!).
WHAT IS SOUS VIDE COOKING?
Sous vide cooking is actually quite simple! Seal food in an airtight container, such as a FoodSaver vacuum sealed bag, remove all air, and cook at a predetermined temperature using a sous vide circulator.
It’s a more precise method for obtaining perfectly cooked proteins. And the best part is… You can add your favorite marinades, olive oil, herbs, spices, and sauces directly to the bag.
The bags are placed directly in a water bath, slowly cooked at the temperature you specify, and voila! A perfectly tender, medium-rare boneless leg of lamb that is completely hands-off until reverse searing.
Forget about second-guessing whether your protein is properly cooked. All of the hard work will be done for you by the sous vide circulator!
HOW TO COOK SOUS VIDE LEG OF LAMB?
- Step one is to season the protein and place it in a zip-top bag. In a mixing bowl, whisk or stir together the Kosher salt, garlic, lemon zest, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and olive oil. You could also combine everything in a food processor or personal blender, but it’s easier to chop it quickly by hand — and one less appliance to clean, right?
- FoodSaver vacuum seal bags are available in a variety of sizes; select the one that best fits your protein, place it inside the bag (along with any herbs, spices, sauce, and so on), and vacuum seal to remove all air. Easy!
- Set the leg of lamb in the fridge for 8 hours, or up to overnight, to allow the flavors to meld before cooking.
- Set your sous vide circulator to the desired temperature (more on this below), then drop the bag directly into the water bath, set a timer, and go about your business. It couldn’t be easier.
LEG OF LAMB TEMPERATURE
We like our lamb medium-rare. That means the internal temperature of the thickest part of the lamb should be between 125 and 134 degrees Fahrenheit.
Set the Anova sous vide circulator to 130F to accomplish this. When cooking sous vide, the lamb should be cooked for 2-6 hours.
Set the temperature to 135°F to 144°F for medium. We do not recommend serving it any more well done (or less done) because the meat will become extremely tough.
WHY YOU SHOULD REVERSE SEAR?
Sous vide cooking is the most dependable method for achieving the ideal temperature. You set it, forget it, and return to a perfectly cooked protein.
But everyone knows that a perfectly seared steak or crispy-skinned piece of fish — or lamb! — is irresistible. — is what we’re all aiming for.
When cooking sous vide, the only way to achieve this is to place the cooked protein on a sheet pan and finish with a broiler or reverse searing, which is our preferred method.
The best part is that reverse searing only takes a few minutes to complete! Preheat a cast-iron skillet over high heat after removing the sous vide lamb leg from the sealed bag.
Add a tablespoon or two of canola or vegetable oil when the pan is very hot. Sear the lamb for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown all over. Allow the meat to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing thinly.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH LEG OF LAMB?
We’re serving the leg of lamb in a Mediterranean rice bowl with tzatziki, cucumber salad, and pita for this recipe.
Chopped tomatoes, roasted vegetables, or a generous spoonful of toum would be fantastic additions as well!
Other serving ideas include feta, quick pickled red onions, or harissa mixed into the tzatziki.
Alternatively, skip the tzatziki and instead drizzle the lamb with our Italian salsa verde! Fresh herbs complement the flavor of the lamb so well.
WHAT TO DO WITH LEG OF LAMB LEFTOVERS?
I almost prefer the leftovers to the main course! I thinly sliced the remaining leg of lamb and used it to make:
- Pesto, confit tomatoes, and goat cheese sandwiches.
- Pita pockets stuffed with arugula, Mama Lil’s hot peppers, kalamata olives, hummus, and labneh.
- Hash browns with potatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, and a fried egg.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should you sous vide leg of lamb?
The temperature and time we recommend for sous vide cooking a boneless lamb leg is 134°F for 6 to 8 hours. The lamb will be medium-rare, taste delicious, and have a supple texture if you use this time and temperature combination.
Can you sous vide a bone in leg of lamb?
This sous vide bone-in leg of lamb is tender and juicy, and it’s guaranteed to be cooked to perfection on the inside and out. You must start one day ahead of when you want to serve it, but the majority of the time is hands-off, thanks to a sous vide precision cooker.
Can I sous vide a lamb shoulder?
The extended cooking times of sous vide can benefit lamb shoulder greatly. Cooking at 131°F (55°C) for 1 to 2 days yields a medium-rare tender and moist piece of meat unrivaled by traditional cooking methods. Raise the temperature to 140°F (60°C) for a more medium doneness.
Can you sous vide lamb for 24 hours?
The extended cooking times of sous vide can also benefit a leg of lamb. For up to 24 hours, I recommend temperatures of 131°F (55°C) for medium-rare and 140°F (60°C) for medium doneness. This produces a very tender and moist piece of meat that is unrivaled by traditional cooking methods.