Four-Hour Lamb

I’m sure you all know by now how much I love slow-cooking methods. Waiting 4 hours for this leg of lamb is worth every minute!

Pierre Koffman, one of the most talented and famous chefs in the UK and Europe, featured this recipe (or one very similar) in one of his books. I tried it, loved it and now I’m just passing it on. It’s that good.

This recipes uses a leg of lamb, which will feed eight people generously.


For the Vegetable Mirepoix

  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2–3 carrots, diced
  • 1 leek, diced
  • 2–3 celery sticks, diced

For the Lamb

  • 1 leg of lamb
  • Fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 65 g ( oz) butter
  • 100 g (4 oz) garlic, tied in muslin
  • 1 bottle of white wine
  • Cooking oil
  • 900 ml ( pints) Chicken Stock or alternative
  • Salt and pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Soften the mirepoix vegetables, thyme and bay leaf in 15 g (½ oz) of butter in a deep ovenproof braising pan. Once softened, add the bag of garlic cloves and the white wine. Bring to the boil and reduce the wine by three-quarters. While the vegetables and wine are cooking, season the leg of lamb and brown all over in a hot frying-pan with the cooking oil. Once coloured, put the lamb in the braising pan. Add the chicken stock and top with water, so the lamb is half-covered. Return to the simmer and cover with a lid. Cook the lamb in the oven for 4 hours. I like to turn the lamb over after 2 hours, so it cooks evenly.

After 4 hours, remove the lamb which will now be very tender. Leave to rest. Strain and reduce the liquor by half or more. Taste the stock for strength: a really good, strong stock will give a better finish to the sauce. About 300 ml (10 fl oz) of well-reduced stock should be plenty. Take the almost puréed garlics from the bag and press them to a smooth paste. Add this paste as a thickener to the sauce and then whisk in the remaining 50 g (2 oz) butter. The sauce is now finished. Carve the lamb or break it into chunks. Spoon over the sauce and serve.