HomeArticles Posted by Conor Bofin

Author: Conor Bofin

“What is the old fool on about now?” “What’s with the +1?” I can hear you thinking to yourself. Give me a chance to explain. We have all heard people saying “It tasted even better the second day”. At least you should have heard that if you ever made a decent curry or spiced stew. If you haven’t been subjected to such praise, perhaps you don’t know how to cook in the first place. Then all the better for you because I am suggesting that when you cook this delightful spicy lamb and apricot stew, you leave it for 24 hours, reheat and enjoy. It really is so much the better for the day of melding flavours.

This post is a bit of an experiment. I have noticed that when I post on a Friday, I get a bit of a bounce on the numbers. As my posting schedule (to call it a schedule is an insult to German train efficiency) has become a bit erratic of late, I thought I should try Friday again. If you are reading this on another day, the recipe is equally valid. It is not the first sous vide halibut I have done. It is the simplest and in my opinion, the tastiest by far.

Let’s face facts, many of the burgers one encounters in the big, bad world, are pretty bloody awful. Most of you see the sun come out, rush to the convenience store and buy a box of frozen patties (Who is Pattie and what did she do to deserve this treatment?). Then it’s home to the garden, to wipe the cobwebs off the barbecue. Then you take the wire brush to the grill. Next you fire it up and burn off last season’s leftovers. You throw the frozen patties on the grill along with some jumbo sausages, ribs, bacon, cofti, chicken wings and pork chops. You take pictures of the whole lot burning on the too-hot grill and share it to your social media. You swill a few cans of beer, over-eat, get the “meat sweats” and retire to snore through the worst excesses of your piggery. But….., there is a better way. Better for you and better for small producers creating great product sold through independent butchers who know their trade. The way forward is the Way of the Wagyu.

If you are looking for elegance, look somewhere else. If you are looking for subtlety pass by, my friend.  This dish is not such a preparation, it’s like being hit in the face with the all ingredients from an Oriental grocery store, all at once. Don’t get me wrong, it is delicious and you won’t regret making it. Just be prepared for a flavour explosion in your face.

I had a conversation with my friend, James Lawlor, who runs the butcher shop that bears his name (on the Upper Rathmines Road in leafy south Dublin). It was over the counter while he was putting my weekly order together. He mentioned that he had some Wagyu beef at the end of his 21 day dry ageing process. I am a sucker for a nice Wagyu, so James fetched the side from which to cut the rib that you see in the picture.

If you have a crowd to feed…. What am I saying! Nobody has a crowd to feed these days. I got my chicken thighs on a 3 for 2 offer and ended up with more than I needed. Having said that, we ate this on the day we cooked it, the day after and also froze a few portions that got eaten a few days later.  For simplicity, divide the recipe by three if you are feeding three hungry people, by two if you are feeding four and so on.  Having said all that, I really do have to say “My, my that is one tasty thigh”. This is a really delightful recipe. Don’t be put off by the quantity and diversity of ingredients. It is really easy to prepare and diversity is good.

There are short ribs and then there are short ribs. One can’t blame the average butcher for trying to sell as much of the animal as possible. But, many go too far and end up harming their own businesses by selling bits of the animal that should really be put to other use. The humble short rib or Jacob’s Ladder is such a cut. The very best of the short ribs comes from high up the ribs, towards the front of the animal. As one goes lower and back, the ribs get thinner, the meat gets likewise and the connective tissue to meat ratio goes up. Having said all that, I was stunned by the quality of the short ribs I used for this recipe.

While you and your granny were around in the toilet roll aisle having a punch-up with a tattoo encrusted weightlifter, I was quietly loading up my trolly in the dried goods aisle. Down the far end from the scrum and bloodletting at the pasta, I was at the couscous. There was really no need to stock up as a kilo (2lb) packet costs less than two euro (or $2 for that matter). It can produce enough carbohydrate laden deliciousness to quell the panic in any pandemic fearing hoarder.

This recipe is a celebration of being involved in a great organisation, the ISVA. For me, it’s a huge honour to be included in the Champions of Sous Vide cookbook published by Mike and Jason of the International Sous Vide Association. I decided to celebrate by cooking some delicious Spiced Wicklow Lamb Shanks (in the sous vide, naturally enough). Wicklow lamb really is some of the very best in the world. If you get a chance to try it, do so. This recipe is simplicity itself. I have included a full instructional video for your convenience.

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