Lamb confit prepared in a sous vide (or slow cooker) yields a tender, flavourful meat. Versatile to serve with grains, vegetables or in wraps or stir fries.
The word confit describes a way of cooking meat, fish or vegetables for several hours at a low temperature, usually in an oil or melted fat bath. This does not mean the end product is fatty – once removed from the cooking fat the meat is tender and lean and the cooking liquid discarded If you use a sous vide cooking method, you can achieve the same soft, melt in the mouth texture, but without adding much oil, just a teaspoon to help spread the herbs or flavourings you want to impart to the meat as it cooks.
Cheaper cuts of meat, such as lamb neck, are richly flavoured. To get the best out of them a low and slow cooking process allows the meat fibres to break down and tenderise. A slow cooker is an economical and easy way to do this. However, we’ve found that sous vide cooking allows precision cooking for very extended periods, and results in meat that is meltingly soft and full of flavour. You can also get away with using a lot less fat to cook the meat in a sous vide. Using a vacuum seal on the cooking bags results in a cooking environment that concentrates flavour so sous vide cooked food needs less spice and flavouring added to it.
We have used different cuts of lamb, beef and chicken in the sous vide, including lamb shank, Ox cheek and Chicken Breast. Indeed it is the best way to get tender poached chicken for slicing or shredding into salads or grains.
We served this particular recipe for lamb neck fillet confit at one of our supperclub events last year, alongside cumin seeded flatbreads and preserved lemon. You could also pair the lamb confit with couscous, freekeh or potatoes. Another idea is to pull the meat into strands to fill sheets of brik (or filo) pastry to make pastillas – like this recipe.
- 4 lamb neck fillets
- 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 pinch of pepper
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tsp olive oil
- In a dry frying pan lightly roast the fennel, coriander and cumin seeds one spice at a time.
- Grind the spices and combine with the remaining spices, salt and pepper. Transfer to a small bowl. Peel and crush the garlic, add to spice mix then pour in the oil, stir to make a paste.
- Rub the spices over the lamb neck fillets and place in a covered plastic container. Leave in refrigerator overnight.
- The next day, fill a sous vide machine with water and heat to 76DegC (169DegF). When the sous vide achieves the correct temperature, vacuum seal the lamb neck fillets into individual sous vide bags.
- Place the bags into the heated sous vide and cook for 18 hours.
- If you are planning to serve immediately, take the bags out of the sous vide, cut them open and gently take out the cooked lamb and plate them. Discard the cooking juices or you can use them to make a sauce. If you plan to serve the dish later, plunge the sealed sous vide bags into ice cold water.
- Keep the bags containing lamb chilled in a refrigerator until ready to serve.
- At service, warm a pot of water on the stove to a gentle simmer – about 76-80DegC (169-176DegF) if you have a temperature probe. Heat the lamb within the sealed bags for around 20 to 25 minutes to ensure the chilled meat is fully rewarmed all the way through