Sous Vide Lamb Shank and Sour Spinach Coulis. 12h 72h 55C

Sous Vide Lamb Shank and Sour Spinach Coulis. 12h 72h 55C @ thatothercookingblog.com

Somehow managed to escape the gruelling office hours just before I totally ran out of whatever positive emotional energy  I had left in me. This will be a quick post. I have to go back into hiding before anyone finds me. So… Lamb shanks. Yeah! that’s exciting stuff right? The easiest thing in the world too. The catch is, it requires patience. Weather you are cooking it the traditional way or a using more modernist approach, the patience factor will be there because it takes a long time. Well, I don’t know.. I used to think of it that way. Patience… I’m actually gonna disagree with myself here. Patience has nothing to do with cooking things that takes hours to make. It’s just a simple matter of planning. It’s not like you can’t order a pizza while you wait. I don’t sit by my immersion circulator for 72 hours pacing up and down the kitchen starving to death. Life goes on as it normally does and 3 days later I somehow remember there was some plastic bag with something in it that required a long cooking time in a water bath. I switch the thing off and it’s done. No sweat. No Patience. By the way… spoiler alert: Medium rare and falling off the bone all at the same time. Just saying. 

Cooking something for 1, 2, 3+ days might be shocking to some people. If you had asked me about this 5 years ago I would have felt the same way. I would have gone “forget it, that’s nuts, who does that?!, where’s that pizza hut number”. Today, I just don’t see how it could be done better any other way. But enough about this sous vide propaganda.  If you ever try this or any of the sous vide recipes on this blog, you will come to see things my way. ūüėČ

Ingredients (for 1 lamb shank, simple math if you wanna make more):

The Shank!:

1 Lamb Shank bone in.
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt

Sour Spinach Coulis:

200g Fresh Baby Spinach
1/2 Cup White Wine Vinegar.
1/2 Cup EVO
Salt and Pepper to taste.

The brining of the shanks. Place the shank(s) in a plastic container, sprinkle the salt all over it. Make sure it’s coated on all sides. Seal the container. Place in the fridge for 24h. Rinse in cold running water. Place the shank in a ziplock bag. Add some vegetable oil to the bag or some water. Make sure there are no air pockets around the shank. Seal the ziplock bag. Cook for 72 hours at 55C. Dry the shank with paper towels. Deep-fry for a couple of minutes until golden brown. Remove from the deep fryer. Reserve.

The mysterious spinach coulis. As simple as putting all the ingredient in a blender and blending until mega smooth. It’s basically like making a blended chimichurri. I did eye-ball the measurements here, so proceed with caution. You might need more of this or less of that. Just try to keep the vinegar/oil ration about 50/50 just for connivence. Use your senses to adjust it to your liking.

Sous Vide Lamb Shank and Sour Spinach Coulis. 12h 72h 55C @ thatothercookingblog.com

The rest is history. Seriously. There was nothing left. And I got nothing more to say about this.  Good night guys!

Braised Lamb Shank : Chimayó Chile Spice Blend : Cauliflower Puree : Thank you, Shanna!

This finally happened last week. First I got an email form the hotel I was staying that I had received some mail‚Ķ yeah, really nice. I ran to the hotel which is a block away from my current address and picked up a letter with addresses and names written by hand‚Ķ, like in the old days. The sender, some Dr Greg Ward. I don’t know any Doctors by that name.. there was a second name right under it but I didn’t bother reading on, I was leaving for work and I was already late. At first I thought spam but how many¬†spam/junk mails are¬†written by hand. I got to work.¬†I remembered that about 2 months ago, my blogger friend Shanna ¬†(have you seen her blog?¬†click here!)¬†¬†and Greg, her husband,¬†had emailed me about sending me samples from their Co-Op which features a¬†wonderful array of locally grown ingredients. Amongst those. Chile. But not any chile, oh no.

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Chimay√≥ chiles, of which I knew nothing about. Check out this link if you are interested in the history of this chile, it’s quite amazing actually. I had no clue that what was in that envelope was a bag of dried ground Chimay√≥ chile, all the way from the originating geographic location. Thank you Shannah for the lovely gift. Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. Anyone who’s lived in Canada probably knows how meticulous their border customs office can be. They probably held the package for about a month‚Ķ it either sat there totally unnoticed or they ran some serious lab tests on it to figure out why it smelled so freaking awesome. The baggie was slightly opened, so must have been the latter. When I opened the envelope, there was chile powder everywhere, but do not worry, Shanna, I was able to save all of it!¬†

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Now on to the recipe. Lamb. Nothing to do with the fact that is easter weekend for those who celebrate this holiday. But I’ve been craving it. Lamb from New Zealand, the land of the lambs. If you haven’t been. There are lots of lambs there, lots. And they are cute. And delicious too. Terrific combination. Here in Vancouver, they can be found easily at groceries stores. Given the size of the one I cooked, must have been the hind shank, lot’s of connective tissue, collagen, some marbling and a lovely bone. All points to a long and slow braise.

I tested the chile for heat. Which meant placing about a tsp of it my mouth. It was mildly spicy, perfect actually. I decided I would do a 24 hour dry rub (meanly featuring Shanna’s gift) on the shank and then braise it over vegetables and serve it with a side of cauliflower puree. Some mint leaves for garnishing. And here’s how it went:

Ingredients:

Shank dry rub:

1 lamb shank
1 Tbsp chile blend
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp onion powder
1/2 Tbsp ground coriander seeds
1/4 Tbsp cinnamon powder
2/3 Tbsp kosher salt
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 Tbsp sweet paprika

Braising Bed:

mirepoix, 1 onion, 2 celery stalks, 2 carrots, coarse dice
6-8 prunes
2 tsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp olive oil
12-16 capers
a drizzle honey

Cauliflower Puree:

1 cauliflower
2/3 C whole milk
salt to taste

Garnish:

Toasted sesame seeds
Fresh mint leaves
Freshly ground black pepper

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For the lamb shank dry rub. Prepare the dry rub. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl big enough to fit the shank. Don’t use any olive oil. These ingredients are soluble in water for the most part. If you add oil, the ingredients¬†will get coated with it and will not permeate the shank as efficiently. I actually added a little bit of water, so it wasn’t exactly a dry rub‚Ķ maybe a slightly wet rub. Get in there with your hands and rub the mix all over the shank, including the bone. It might seem like a lot of salt, but kosher salt isn’t as salty and some of it will evenly salt the shank (like a brine).¬†Some of it will be left behind in the bowl and the rest will drip away when the shank is braising, salting the vegetables. It will be ok. Place uncovered in the fridge for 24 hours.

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For the cauliflower puree. Cut off the florets and discard the tough end portion of the stem. In a shallow saucepan, place the florets and add about 1/2 inch of water, bring to a boil and shallow steam with the lid on until cauliflower is soft but not mushy. Season with a little salt. When¬†done, reduce the water until there’s only a little left. Allow to cool. Place the contents of the saucepan in a blender. Add a little milk. Cover the blender and place a dry kitchen towel over it, pressing down firmly. Blend, stop. Press the cauliflower chunks with a spatula deeper into the blender jar. Cover, kitchen towel, more milk, blend‚Ķ, adjust seasoning, repeat. I do it this way because I don’t want to ue¬†too much milk and end up with a runny cream. You can always reduce it in a saucepan if this ever happens and get it back to the right consistency, but I rather avoid that step and prefer to get it right straight inside the blender. And immersion blender is a nicer alternative to this, but mine still bubble wrapped from moving to Canada.

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Braising the Lamb Shank. ¬†Preheat your oven to 500F for about an hour. Add a drizzle of olive oil to an oven safe pot, like an all stainless steel pot or cast iron dutch oven which is my favorite. Place the shank and brown the widest end (the knee end I guess) on medium high heat for a few minutes. ¬†The first stage is browning the meat, to develop flavor. You can do it all in the same pot either over the stove or in the oven. I prefer the oven, is less work and browns more evenly. I give the shank a bit of a head start by browning the side in which it will stand (sit on) for the rest of the cooking process. Place the pot in the oven and let it brown for about 10-12 minutes. ¬†(or the stock of your liking, chicken, beef, lamb, vegetable, probably not fish but who knows!) carefully remove the pot from the oven. Add the vegetable, ¬†prunes, and tomato paste with about 1/2 C of water. Reduce the oven temperature to 200F -250F and cook for as long as 4 hours. Remove from the oven, place shank over serving plate. On the stove over medium heat, place the that same pot with the vegetables, add the honey. Don’t let it burn, ¬†but let it become a bit darker. Stir. ¬†Deglaze with a splash of water, stir until water is reduced completely and remove form the heat.

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Plating. Spoon the braised vegetables around the lamb shank. Add as much cauliflower puree as you want. I would have drowned the plate, that puree is so good! but I plated for the photo so I kept it a bit classier. Garnish with some toasted sesame seeds and Fresh mint leaves. Pepper to taste.

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