Lamb Souvid With Grapes
Eating a piece of meat off the bones is a primordial, delicious experience, especially if the meat is smeared with some kind of sticky, slightly sweet sauce. A lamb’s neck may provide this intuitive experience, but its truly impressive amount of bone and connective tissue means you need to apply the least amount of heat for the slowest time. Obviously – I think you know where I’m going – this makes this clipping a great candidate for sous vide cooking.
When I first tasted lamb neck, I was in awe of the look and taste. Instead of fillets, the dish was served whole, so it was impossible to avoid the fact that I was eating the neck, which for some reason I like. In terms of taste, it was like a wild cauldron roast, tender, meaty, and wilder in flavor than its meaty cousin.
It was also $ 25, which is crazy considering I found a whole necked freezer at my local (rather overpriced) grocery store for about $ 5 apiece. If your grocery store doesn’t have a freezer with various obscure animal parts, ask a friendly butcher to buy some necks for yourself. I’m sure they’ll be delighted and impressed by your excellent, insightful taste.
Once you have a neck, you need an immersion circulator (yes), some salt, a sprig of rosemary, and some grapes. In my opinion, grapes are often overlooked as an ingredient to be cooked in savory recipes. Yes, they’re great for snacks, but they also provide enough spicy, jammy, and sweet for hearty meats, and a cup is more than enough to make a great sauce for your succulent lamb neck. Everything is thrown into a bag, sealed and boiled in a water bath for 24 hours. You can roast before or after if you like, but the lamb will have a lot of meaty flavor without this step. For necked steak, use 155 ℉ and increase cooking time to 36 hours. If the meat looks aggressive, try 180 ℉ for 24 hours. My personal favorite is 160 ℉ for 24 hours, which produces tender meat that peels off the bone easily, but still leaves a little steak when chewed.
Lamb neck with spicy grape sauce
- 1 lamb neck
- 1 cup red or black grapes (halved if desired)
- Large sprig of rosemary
- A couple of thyme sprigs (if available)
Salt vigorously on all sides of the lamb’s neck. Add it to a vacuum bag along with grapes and herbs. Close the bag, then cook the neck for 24 hours in a water bath at 160 degrees (or at a different temperature and time, as described above). After the cooking time has elapsed, strain the liquid from the bag into the pan through a sieve, add the grapes to the liquid and bring the liquid to a boil. Cook until the juice thickens and the grapes begin to decay. For a smooth, icing-like sauce, mix the liquid with the burst grapes, then strain through a sieve again. Reduce it again if needed to make the sauce thick, savory and sweet. It should taste a little aggressive on its own, but will be the perfect addition to your juicy, primordial piece of meat.