Seven-Hour Braised Leg of Lamb

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I cannot think of a dish better suited for a large winter dinner party than this one, since it needs to be made a day or two in advance, and once finished, is strictly a reheat. It is a dish that is very difficult to ruin. This is always called seven-hour leg of lamb, but, in truth, it really only takes five.

Philippe serves this lamb with a puree of flageolet beans cooked with bacon, or with assorted vegetables. He garnishes the whole dish with chopped Italian parsley.

Ingredients

  • 1 large leg of lamb, bone in (6 to 8 pounds)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped garlic plus ½ cup peeled whole garlic cloves
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 red onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 6 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 bottle rich red wine, such as Syrah or Côtes du Rhone

Method

Rub the leg of lamb all over with the chopped garlic, half the olive oil, and salt and pepper. Marinate in the refrigerator 12 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 450°F

Wipe the garlic off the lamb and brown the leg in the oven in a roasting pan for 20 minutes.

Heat the remaining ¼ cup olive oil in a flameproof casserole or heavy roasting pan large enough to hold the leg. Add the red onions, carrots, celery, whole garlic cloves, rosemary, thyme, coriander seeds, juniper berries, and bay leaves. Cook the vegetables over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes; do not let them burn. Reduce the heat and add the tomato paste and flour. Mix well into the vegetables. Pour in the red wine, stirring up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add 8 cups water. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for 2 minutes to make sure all the flour is dissolved. Bring to a boil.

Reduce the oven temperature to 275°F.

Place the lamb in the casserole, cover with foil and then the lid of the casserole, and cook in the oven for 5 hours, or until the lamb is spoon tender.

Take the lamb out of the liquid and cover with a damp towel. Strain the cooking juices into a saucepan; simmer, while skimming off all fat and scum. Boil to reduce slightly and serve poured over the carved lamb.

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