About 5 hour lamb

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Our apartment has been freezing at night for the last week or so.  It’s finally made me understand why there are doors on every internal doorway in the place – it’s so you have a better chance of corralling the draughts that whistle in round most of the window frames.  But even sitting on the couch with at least one and in most cases two closed doors between me and the external walls of the building, I still shiver.  So I am getting all old-school and sewing draught snakes, and in the meantime cooking depths-of-winter dinners, despite the fact that I sit outside in the sun at lunchtimes in shirtsleeves.

Yesterday afternoon we picked up a small leg of lamb, which I cooked last night in an ad-hoc way, vaguely based on gigot de sept heures and modified to suit the time and what else we had in the house (it had been a disorganised and ramshackle kind of shopping expedition). I browned the leg in oil in the Le Creuset on the stovetop, then added (for a 1kg leg) 1 can of tomatoes, very roughly chopped, a couple of cups of stock, and a large glass of red wine.  Also four golf ball-sized onions peeled and halved, four large carrots peeled and each cut into three or four pieces, two fresh bay leaves and a sprig of rosemary.  Put the lid on, then into the oven at 190 C (clear sign that I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing), realised OH SHIT about an hour later and turned it down to 120 C, at the same time turning the leg over in the pot in the hope of miraculously reversing whatever drying had occured by submerging the part that had been above the waterline during the initial roasting. Left it cooking for another 3.5 hours, then pulled it out to see the results.

The liquid had reduced by about two thirds to a shallow bath of delicious juices with a concentrated flavour of the vegetables, wine and lamb. The onions had come apart, and the carrots were braised to silky softness but still holding their shape perfectly. A butter knife sank into the lamb all the way to the bottom of the pot with no effort.  We ate it, lamb, vegetables and broth, in shallow bowls, together with bread from Chouquette spread with good butter.  It was delicious, and we weren’t cold anymore.

9 Responses to “About 5 hour lamb”

  1. Angela @ A Spoonful of Sugar Says:

    So good to see you blogging again, Meg! The braised lamb sounds absolutely amazing!

  2. Meg Says:

    Thanks Angela!

  3. raj Says:

    i used to follow your blog ages ago! stumbled upon it again today! it’s made my day! 🙂 are there any photos of the lamb? it sounds DELICIOUS!

  4. Meg Says:

    thanks Raj! tragically there were no photos, and to be honest this never looks too hot anyway – lots of brown. Tastes damn fine though.

  5. Julie Brice Says:

    Hi Meg,

    Long time no see! And clearly a long time since I checked out your fabulous website – so glad to see it is still as good as ever. I actually ended up here after checking out various choux pastry recipes as it is a pal’s birthday and I am contemplating recreating a childhood favourite – strawberry cream puffs with alcoholic chocolate sauce. None of this pussy profiteroles business, the will be big rustic suckers 🙂 Hope all is well in Brissy? Sorry I’ve been so slack, hoping to plan a trip second weekend in October – it would be great to catch up with you and Ted if you aren’t busy already… xxx


  6. Meg Says:

    Hi Jules, would be lovely to catch up in October! I’ve just got back from Ireland and am heading to Italy for a conference and holiday in August/September but otherwise am brissie-bound for the rest of the year, so let us know your dates and we’ll be here.

    Total admiration for making cream puffs – I wuss out of almost all pastry-making and have never even tried choux. Let me know how it goes!

    See you soon, Meg xx

  7. raj Says:

    meg!! i’ve been waiting forever for a new post!! 🙁

  8. Meg Says:

    Dude I know but I have this horrible disability known as a full-time job! Man that student life was cushy, not that I realised it at the time. Also I have been out of the country for a couple of weeks, does that count as an additional excuse? Sorreeeeeee…….

  9. Paul Says:

    Sounds really nice. Slow-cooking really brings out the best flavours!