Seven hours in the oven – but what about seven minutes work for the cook. Sounds like your kind of dish? Mine too. The lamb is cooked after ﬁve or six hours, but seven is the traditional French timing to achieve ‘gigot a la cuillère’ – a joint that can be carved with a spoon.
1 large leg of lamb, about 3kg/6lb 8oz
4 onions, sliced
8 garlic cloves, peeled, but left whole
4 carrots, leave whole if small or quarter lengthways
300ml/½pt white wine
300ml/½pt stock, use what you have
2 tbsp Armagnac or Madeira, optional, to ﬁ nish
thyme sprigs, to ﬁnish
Heat oven to 120C/fan 100C/gas ½. Put your largest lidded casserole on the hob and brown the seasoned leg of lamb on all sides – do this very thoroughly until it is a good dark brown as it will not brown during the cooking. (If you don’t do it now, it will end up beige.) If the lamb sticks, add a drizzle of oil – legs of lamb differ. Allow 10 mins on a high heat and put on the cooker fan to remove the smoke. Pour away any fat that has collected in the bottom of the pan.
Throw in the vegetables, followed by the wine and stock. Season and bring to the boil, then clap on the lid and put in the oven. Bake for 7 hrs, turning twice. After 5 hrs the meat will be cooked and offer no resistance to the knife.
There is no need to rest the meat when cooked in this way, but to ﬁ nish the sauce, transfer the meat and vegetables to a serving dish. Strain the sauce into a jug and pour or blot away the fat with kitchen paper. Pour the sauce into a pan then boil the liquid hard to reduce by a quarter, by which time it will be rich and ﬂ avoursome. Adjust seasoning, add the Armagnac if you wish, and serve alongside the lamb, which should be served with a spoon – a la cuillère as the French call it.
743 kcalories, protein 73g, carbohydrate 14g, fat 41g, saturated fat 20g, ﬁ bre 3g, added sugar none, salt 1g