Monday, April 5, 2010

Seven-Hour Braised Lamb

Now if my husband ever had time to breath this week would be a guest post because this is his dish.  He makes this once a year for Easter, and I wish I had been in the kitchen while he was cooking to take a decent photo because trust me this does not do it justice!  This lamb is that dish that generally takes people who do not like lamb and turns them into lamb fans. 

I can't wait to eat the leftovers. 

Excuse the horrible shot, but after all that cooking we were all starving and just wanted to get to it.  We served the lamb over a bed of mache, with homemade scallop potatoes (recipe to follow by next week promise) with creme fraiche and cauliflower au gratin.

Seven-hour Leg of Lamb
adapted from a GQ article a hundred years ago


2 bunches of thyme
3 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons kosher salt or 1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
3 to 4 anchovy filets
7 tablespoons olive oil
1 leg of lamb (8 to 12 pounds, bone in)
2 carrots
2 leeks
1 stalk celery
1 cup red wine (we add extra to make an au jus type “sauce” we poor it over the lamb and greens)
Parchment paper
Heavy-duty aluminum foil
Mortar and pestle (or food processor)


Strip the needles from the thyme stems. Warm the cumin in a preheated skillet for thirty seconds. In a mortar (we use a mini food processor), grind the thyme and cumin with the garlic, salt, peppercorns, and anchovy filets into a rough pomace. Add 4 tablespoons of the olive oil to moisten and bind the mixture into a paste that will stick to the lamb.

Coat the lamb with the paste.

Rough-cut the carrots, leeks, and celery. Sauté those in the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil for five minutes. Place them in a roasting pan. Pour in the wine.

Place the lab in the roasting pan. Stretch a piece of parchment paper across the top, crimping its edges along the rim. Then stretch a large swath of aluminum foil across, crimping its edges along the rim.

Place the lamb in the oven at the lowest possible consistent temperature it can achieve. If it has a low setting, use that. Otherwise shoot for 160 to 200 degrees (we use 175, and this year had a boneless leg of lamb which cooked a lot faster so watch it). Cook for 6-8 hours (seven is perfect for a bone in).

Serve sliced over a large chunk of sturdy bread, (toasted if you prefer) bitter greens, preferably from the endive family, and let the lamb juices slightly wilt the greens.

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