Gigot a la Cuillere – French “Spoon” Lamb

France

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

Lavender & Lovage: A Culinary Notebook of Memories & Recipes From Home & Abroad

Lavender & Lovage

By Karen Burns-Booth

Published 2019

  • About

A classic French Bistro recipe, and one that is so easy to cook. The lamb in this recipe is cooked after 5 or 6 hours, but 7 hours is the traditional French timing for ‘gigot a la cuillère’ - a joint that can be carved with a spoon, hence its name. You will need a very large ovenproof casserole dish with a lid or a large, deep roasting tin, which you can cover tightly with tin foil. This can also be cooked with great success in a slow-cooker or Crock-Pot®. This lamb is just divine when served alongside gratin Dauphinoise and steamed haricots verts. I add lots of garlic for quite a pungent flavour - adjust the garlic and seasonings to personal taste.

Ingredients

  • 1 leg of lamb, about 1.8kg to 2kg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 8 to 12 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and quartered lengthways
  • 300 ml white wine
  • 300 ml beef or lamb stock
  • 2 tablespoons Armagnac brandy
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme

Method

Method – Traditional oven method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 120°C/250°F/Gas mark 1. Season the leg of lamb with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Put the lamb in the casserole dish with the oil, (I use a Le Creuset cast iron one with a lid) and brown the lamb over a medium heat on the hob, making sure it is browned thoroughly on all sides - if the lamb sticks add a little more oil to the casserole. Drain the oil and lamb fat.
  3. Add the vegetables to the casserole dish along with the white wine and stock. Season to taste and bring to the boil.
  4. Cover with a lid and place in the pre-heated oven. Cook the lamb for 5 to 7 hours, turning twice during this time. The meat should be cooked after 5 hours and will fall to pieces off the bone.
  5. Transfer the meat and vegetables to a serving platter. Strain the meat juices into a jug and blot away the fat with kitchen paper. Pour the juices into a pan and boil until reduced by a third.
  6. Adjust the seasoning and add the Armagnac to the meat juices. Garnish the lamb with the sprigs of thyme and serve with the jus. Use a spoon to carve and serve the lamb - a la cuillère as the French call it.

Crock-pot® cooking method

Carry out steps 3 and 4 as shown above; then place in the Crock-Pot® and cook on high for 2 hours and then on low for about 6 hours, or until the lamb is cooked as instructed above. Serve as before.