Sous Vide Leg of Lamb with Rosemary and Garlic is a simple, versatile dish that encompasses the flavor profile of high-quality Middle Eastern and Mediterranean lamb-based meals.
Sous vide cooking brings out the best qualities of a leg of lamb, resulting in a tender and flavorful cooked meal. The controlled cooking environment of sous vide helps ensure a restaurant-quality dish that is often praised for its succulence and deliciousness.
Sous vide leg of lamb is an exceptional meal for many reasons. First, this method of cooking allows the lamb to cook slowly and evenly at a controlled temperature which results in a tender and juicy roast. Second, the leg of lamb is cooked consistently throughout. The precise temperature control ensures that the meat is cooked to the desired level of doneness from edge to edge, eliminating the risk of overcooking or undercooking certain parts. The third reason, and my favorite, is the flavor infusion brought on by sous vide cooking. I season the meat before sealing it in the bag, which allows the flavors to penetrate the meat while cooking. This enhances the overall taste of the recipe.
Still, if you prefer not to sous vide lamb, you can cook a similar lamb roast in the Instant Pot. Slow cooker lamb stew with potatoes and carrots or pressure cooker lamb stew are great alternative to a sous vide leg of lamb roast.
What Is Sous Vide?
Sous vide is a cooking technique that involves cooking food in a precise and controlled temperature water bath. The term "sous vide" is a French phrase that means "under vacuum," which refers to the initial step of vacuum-sealing the food before cooking.
In sous vide cooking, the food, typically meat, fish, or vegetables, is sealed in a plastic bag or vacuum-sealed pouch and then placed in a water bath. The water bath is heated to a specific temperature using a sous vide immersion circulator or a water oven. The food is cooked slowly and evenly at a consistent temperature, often for an extended period.
Benefits of Sous Vide Cooking
The benefits of sous vide cooking include:
- Precise temperature control: Sous vide allows you to cook food at very specific temperatures, ensuring even doneness and precise control over the desired level of doneness.
- Moisture retention: Since the food is sealed in a bag, the cooking process helps to retain the moisture, resulting in juicier and more tender dishes.
- Enhanced flavors: The flavors of the food are often more concentrated since they are vacuum sealed in the bag during cooking.
- Consistency: Sous vide cooking provides consistent results, reducing the risk of overcooking or undercooking the food.
After the food is cooked sous vide, it is often finished with a quick sear, grill, or other methods to develop a flavorful crust or enhance the appearance.
Sous Vide Lamb Temperature and Cook Time
Use the table below with discretion. The larger the lamb roast, the longer it will take to reach your desired internal temperature. Much like a steak, the thickness of the lamb is more important than the weight. The thicker the lamb, the longer it takes to come to temperature.
During cooking, check the lamb at its thickest part with a digital thermometer at the low end of the time range. If not done, reseal the bag and continue cooking, checking the internal temperature periodically.
|2 to 4 hours
|2 to 6 hours
|2 to 6 hours
|2 to 6 hours
Because of bacteria growth, I don't recommend cooking at a temperature lower than 131.
Ingredients For This Recipe
- Boneless leg of lamb: a 5-6 pound boneless leg of lamb is ideal. You can use a larger or smaller roast, with a modification in cooking time.
- Garlic cloves: you need minced garlic for the seasoning rub, plus a few whole garlic cloves to put in the bag for extra flavor.
- Rosemary: dried or fresh.
- Thyme: dried or fresh.
- Allspice: ground allspice, not whole.
- Sage leaves: fresh.
- Salt and pepper
- Broth: or water can be used.
Preparing The Lamb
If you have a bone in lamb leg, you'll need to debone it and butterfly it yourself or ask the butcher to do it for you. Once you have a boneless leg of lamb, preparing it for sous vide cooking is simple.
Spread the lamb flat as possible on a cutting board. Rub half of the spice and garlic mixture all over the interior of the lamb, then roll it up tightly. Secure the lamb leg with a few pieces of twine. Once tied, rub the remaining half of the spice and garlic mix over the outside of the lamb.
Place the prepared lamb in your sous vide bag with 4-6 extra whole garlic cloves, the fresh sage leaves and beef broth, vegetable broth or water.
Once the leg of lamb has been seasoned and secured within the sous vide bag, put into the water bath at your chosen temperature from the chart above. Cook for the duration of time for the level of doneness that you prefer. Remember, while the lamb is cooking, check it at its thickest part with a digital thermometer at the 2 hour mark. If not done, reseal the bag and continue cooking, checking the internal temperature periodically every hour.
Searing and Finishing
Once the lamb has finished with its sous vide bath, it still needs a sear to develop color and flavor on the exterior. You can easily do this is in a large skillet on the stovetop or a grill.
Remove the lamb from the sous vide bag and discard the garlic cloves, broth and fresh herbs. Gently, but thoroughly, pat dry with paper towels on all sides. Sear over medium-high heat on a preheated cast iron skillet until both sides are browned evenly, about 5-7 minutes per side.
What To Serve With Leg Of Lamb
This sous vide leg of lamb contains the flavors of delicious Middle Eastern meals, so I suggest pairing it with one of these side dishes that will compliment the flavor profile.
- Syrian Potato Salad
- Instant Pot Potato Salad with Lemon and Mint
- Instant Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Rosemary Seasoned Baby Potatoes
- Crispy Pita Chips
- Mediterranean Roasted Eggplant
- Instant Pot Saffron Basmati Rice
- Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
- Salt and Pepper Green Beans
- Roasted Asparagus
Frequently Asked Questions For Cooking Sous Vide Lamb
Yes, it is possible to overcook lamb when using the sous vide cooking method.
If you leave the lamb in the sous vide bath for too long, it can become overcooked and lose its desired texture. Lamb cooked for an extended period at a high temperature may become mushy or dry. To avoid overcooking lamb when using sous vide, it's important to follow the recommended guidelines for cooking time and temperature. The exact time and temperature can vary depending on the cut of lamb and the desired level of doneness.
When it comes to sous vide cooking a leg of lamb, the recommended temperature range is generally between 131-149°F or 55-65°C. The range of 131-135 is suitable for achieving a medium-rare to medium level of doneness, which is commonly preferred for leg of lamb.
As a general guideline, you can expect the sous vide cooking time for a leg of lamb to fall within the range of 4 to 7 hours. The actual cooking time may vary based on factors such as the thickness and shape of the leg of lamb, the specific temperature used, and your desired level of tenderness.
The length of sous vide cooking time is determined by several factors, including:
1. Cut and thickness of the meat: Thicker cuts of meat will generally require longer cooking times to ensure even heat penetration and desired doneness. Thinner cuts may require less time. For example, a thick leg of lamb will need more time than a thin lamb chop.
2. Desired level of doneness: The level of doneness you prefer for the meat will influence the cooking time. Cooking meat to a rare level will require less time compared to cooking it to a well-done level.
3. Texture and tenderness: Some cuts of meat, like tougher cuts or certain connective tissues, may benefit from longer cooking times to break down and become tender. This is often the case for tougher cuts of beef or pork.
4. Personal preference: Personal preference for the texture and tenderness of the meat can also impact the cooking time. Some people may prefer a more tender and falling-apart texture, which might require longer cooking times.
5. Food safety considerations: While sous vide cooking helps maintain food safety by cooking the meat at precise temperatures, it's still important to ensure that the meat reaches the recommended internal temperature for safety. Cooking times are influenced by the thickness of the meat and the target temperature to reach the desired level of doneness while ensuring food safety.
Sous Vide Leg of Lamb with Rosemary and Garlic
- Prepare the sous vide machine by filling with water and setting to the temperature chosen from the chart below.
- Spread the boneless leg of lamb as flat as possible on a cutting board. In a small mixing bowl, combine the 12 cloves of minced garlic, diced shallot, chopped fresh rosemary, chopped fresh thyme, allspice, salt and pepper. Rub half of the seasoning mix all over the interior of the lamb, then roll the lamb up tightly. Secure with a few pieces of twine. Once tied, rub the remaining half of the seasoning mix over the outside of the lamb.
- Place the prepared lamb in your sous vide bag with 4-6 extra whole garlic cloves, the fresh sage leaves and beef or vegetable broth (or water). Vacuum seal the bag closed.
- Cook for the desired amount of time based on your preferred doneness from the chart below. Using a digital thermometer, check the temperature of the leg of lamb at its thickest part at the 2 hour mark. Continue cooking if needed until desired temperature has been reached, checking temperature every hour til done.
- Remove the lamb from the sous vide bag and discard the garlic cloves, broth and sage leaves. Gently, but thoroughly, pat dry with paper towels on all sides. Sear over medium-high heat on a preheated cast iron skillet until both sides are browned evenly, about 5-7 minutes per side.
- Let rest under a foil tent for 5 minutes before serving with your choice of sides.
|2 to 4 hours
|2 to 6 hours
|2 to 6 hours
|2 to 6 hours