Sous Vide Lamb Shanks

The consensus of various posts seems to be 48 hours at 140-161F. But low end pictures all look a bit on the red side, so I’m going to up the temperature to 145. Started at about 8PM on Thursday night. Shanks were rubbed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and put into a 1 gallon ziplock bag with a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme. I’ll update this post when I do more.

Dilute lamb stock

Got up Friday morning to find the water in the bath looking cloudy and the kitchen smelling like lamb soup. The bag had leaked overnight and was full of about quart of liquid. I think I made two mistakes:

  • Putting both shanks in one bag may have put too much stress on the bag
  • Not protecting the bag from the sharper parts of the protruding bones

I thought about how to deal with the second problem and ended up wrapping the ends with plastic wrap and securing it with twine. I put each shank in its own bag and returned them to 145F after changing the water twice.  I put the liquid from the bag into a pot to reduce.

Finishing

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Shanks come out of their bags


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Meat pulled from the bones


Saturday things looked good. I pulled the shanks around 6:30 PM while I was roasting some brussel sprouts as a side dish. I browned the shanks a bit in a saute pan with olive oil. This was not entirely successful as I had some sticking to the pan. This might be better on the grill or under the broiler. I added the liquid from the bags to the pot of reduced rescued liquids and deglazed the pan. I added some mustard, tomato paste, and some dried oregano and parsley. This was because the jus was not very flavorful on its own.

Overall it was nice, but I think it needed something. First, this might be more of a cold-weather dish. It’s pretty rich. Second, I think it would be good with some additional spices in the bag. I use star anise when I braise oxtails. I bet that would work. Or perhaps I should have brined them first or seasoned more aggressively during the sous vide step. The shanks are thick enough that the surface seasoning at the end really doesn’t penetrate… the browned bits were more flavorful. I don’t think the leak made the flavors more dilute than they might have been, but it couldn’t have helped.