Can you tell which was cooked for 30 mins at 60C?
The scene is set to cook the perfect lamb chops, which I shall serve with a foolproof Greek salad, which I’ll deconstruct that another time.
The first thing is to ensure you have good meet. For their tiny size and lack of fat I prefer “Frenched” lamb chops or a rack. But others may prefer the cheaper more fatty chops. It doesn’t really matter as long as they are from lamb and of good quality. Fortunately in Australia we are blessed with excellent lamb even in supermarkets.
Usually I’d stick the chops on a blazing hot griddle. And if I’m lucky, I’d remove them early enough to be rare. I’d then rest them for about ten minutes before serving. This method can be hit and miss. Sometimes the lamb is a little undercooked, sometimes a little overcooked. Getting the perfect pink centre can be tricky, especially if you are cooking for a large group.
But I’ve been learning how I can cook meat either in a low oven (Heston Blumenthal will cook a big steak for 18 hours at 50C) or in a ziplock bag in water at 60C. Tonight I’ve decided to cook three of the chops in the oven at 60C. I’d expected the lamb to take about 15 minutes but it was nearer 30. You have to check to see how they are doing and I took them out when they were starting to look slightly pink.
Then I slapped them on a smoking griddle for less than 30 seconds each side – enough time to leave nice brown stripes and to caramelize the meat slightly. It’s called the Maillard reaction and has nothing to do with sealing the flesh, which simply doesn’t happen when you apply heat to any flesh.
You could do the same on a BBQ which will ensure perfect results each time.
So, was there any difference between the chops? The chops that had been cooked entirely on the griddle leaked juice while they were resting. If anything they were a little drier than the slower cooked chops. The slow cooked chops were slightly more moist and leaked no juice. We were both impressed with the results.
And the answer to the above question? The two chops of the right were cooked slowly; the one on the left entirely on the griddle.
Tonight’s experiment: tuna steaks.
Lamb chops go into the oven.
25 minutes later…ready for the griddle