This weekend's fun with food begins with lamb riblets from SuDan Farm of Canby OR. Riblets are super cheap, about $4/pound, and really tasty but they are small, only two inches wide and four ribs deep. Each rib gives you a bite of meat - no more.
Both sous-vide and confit are useful cooking methods for less-tender cuts of meat, with the slow application of heat allowing the hard connective tissue to break down. Confit meats can be preserved in the cooking oil (under refrigeration) for long periods of time.
I bought two one-pound packs and went to town. I rubbed one pack (of four riblets) with salt and a tiny bit of sugar and confit'd them (covered them in a canola/olive oil* blend, covered that with parchment and foil and slow roasted them for 4 hours at 250 degrees). The parchment paper, cut to fit the size of the pan, keeps the product submerged. Foil keeps it contained.
They came out of the oil so soft and juicy they practically fell apart. I finished them on the stove with a hard sear. I deglazed the pan with a dash of white wine, melted some wild blackberry jam, mounted the whole with butter and glazed the ribs with the jam/wine/butter glaze.
Wow! Really terrific. The ribs were so soft that we ate everything but the bones. I loved the glaze also.
The second pack went into the sous-vide cooker (135 degrees for 18 hours) with a rub of coriander, salt, cumin, oregano and cayenne. Both photographs are of the sous-vide riblets, before going into the cooker and after they were seared.
The lesson for me this weekend? Confit is the way to go...
Live Big and Love Boldly.
PS: For the one or two people who have noticed that my blog output has waned considerably, please know that I'm still cooking up a storm at work and at home, I just lack the time to put words on 'paper.' But I will try to do better. And I have a recent trip to Rome, Italy to blog about!
* any fat will do. Actually, I prefer lard or olive oil but I had blend oil on hand, so I used it instead.