Seven Hour Lamb

April 4, 2010  •  Category: ,



I first tasted this lamb at my beautiful cousin Isabelle‘s home in Beirut. As soon as it was in my mouth, meltingly tender, I knew I had to have the recipe. I asked her about it and she said matter-of-factly  ” C’est l’agneau de sept heures” (it is the seven-hour lamb!); well, I had never heard of the seven-hour lamb before!

What is this seven-hour lamb?

Simply put, it is a deboned leg of lamb, seared and cooked with its bones and some vegetables and spices in a veal broth for seven hours in a very slow oven. The result is meltingly tender morsels and a velvety sauce redolent of lamb, veal and spices.

The recipe is courtesy of Le meilleur du chef. This site offers recipes from French chefs with step-by-step instructions.


  • 1 leg of lamb (I used a 6 pounder)
  • 1 big carrot
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic, whole (I added a teaspoon of mashed garlic, can’t help it)
  • 1 stick of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of parsley
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • salt, pepper
  • 4 large tomatoes (I used half a box of Pomi)
  • 2 cups of veal stock (I used my concentrate demi-glace diluted in water)
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 cup of flour mixed with a bit of water to make the cover for the pot
  • corn or olive oil as needed


  1. Ask your butcher to debone the lamb, cut the bone in manageable pieces and give you back your lamb and its bones.
  2. Assemble all the ingredients. Heat some olive  oil in a large skillet and fry the lamb bones with the carrot pieces, onion pieces, garlic cloves till all are golden brown, about 30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, tie your lamb with kitchen string to give it a nice shape, close to its original shape.
  4. Heat a bit of oil in a pot or large skillet; sear the lamb on all sides till golden-brown. Add the tomatoes or tomato puree, the sauce mixture (including the cracked bones); you want to make sure the sauce comes up halfway; if not, add more veal stock.
  5. Heat the oven to 250F. In a small bowl, place about one generous cup of flour; add some water, about 2/3 cup, or enough to obtain a sticky dough. Take bits of that dough and with plop them all around the pot containing the lamb; place the cover on and fold over the hanging bits of dough. (fyi: it is a French technique known as luter)
  6. Place the pot in the oven for seven hours.


OK, it is now seven hours later. Time to peak in. Take the pot out of the oven, break it open with a heavy-duty hammer (just kidding!); but, seriously, be careful!

  1. Gently remove the lamb from the pot; cut off the string. Set it aside in an oven proof serving dish.
  2. Strain the sauce, degrease it and if cold, reheat it till it simmer and place in a separate sauce dish.
  3. Serve the lamb with some potatoes, mashed or roasted.

NOTE: You can thicken the sauce with flour or cornstarch; I used cornstarch because I find it easier.


48 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best says:

    Happy Easter! This lamb is truly a labor of love, and those potatoes resemble eggs, which is perfect for this holiday! I hope you have a wonderful day!

  2. dana says:

    Joyeux Pâques, Joumana! Hope you’ve had a lovely Easter. What a holiday fitting dish! It reminded me faintly of boeuf bourguignon. I love slow cooked meat; This recipe will definitely be bookmarked.


  3. john@heneedsfood says:

    What a delicious looking meal! My mouth is watering

  4. The Nervous Cook says:

    Oh, wow! That looks unbelievable. Tasty!

  5. Me, Myself & Pie says:

    That looks really really good. I’ve never tried making lamb, but i really like it so I should probably get to it. You have a lovely blog. Thanks for stopping by mine!

  6. Arlette says:

    Oh this is how I prepare my Gigo too, Its the best taste ever ….
    I used to do the Ajeen around the pot then I tried the pressure cooker on slow for 3 hours but the best is in clay pot with a cover and a parchment paper over the lamb and tucked under, then close the cover . the clays gives the juice an amazing flavour…i put 2 cups of red wine, and one cube of demi glace.(i freeze them in ice cubes).this is the first year i dont do lamb I didnt find the ontario grain fed.. and I dont eat the New Zealand Frozen Lamb… with my respect.. its not the lamb we are used to eat back home.
    Bala Liyeh … Bala Taameh.

    Alef Sahtein…

  7. Sushma Mallya says:

    Seven hours is quiet a long time, but sounds really good..worth a try

  8. spice says:

    I wish I could taste that….we love lamb, specially my daughter……that too falling off the bone kind……U know In Indian cooking also some receipes(specially dum biryani) uses seal the pot method…..

    It’s been a while since i visited your blog….I missed it… the lamb cake I first thought u carved it….it looks so cute…

  9. Ivy says:

    I hope you had a wonderful Easter. The lamb looks mouthwatering as well as those potatoes. My mother used to seal clay baking pots with this method of flour and water.

  10. tigerfish says:

    Love your cooking. You have less than 1 minute salad dressing and 7 hours lamb. That time-critical factor in cooking. Love it!

  11. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    I love slow cooked meat braises. They’re so comforting! And seven hour lamb sounds like just the ticket. I hope you’re having a wonderful Easter Joumana! 😀

  12. Cherine says:

    This looks so tasty!

  13. MaryMoh says:

    7 hours!!! That’s a real test of my patience….haha. Looks so delicious….worth the wait 😀 Happy Easter!

  14. shayma says:

    a beauty. wishing you a very Happy Belated Easter. what a gorgeous recipe. slow cooked lamb, my husband’s fave. x shayma

  15. Sonia says:

    This is absolutely yummy!

  16. Trissa says:

    I love this dish. It’s one of those things that you can put in the oven and forget about and seven hours later you have a nice surprise waiting for you! Thanks for sharing the inspiration.

  17. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Wow, this lamb sounds incredible! I must try it really soon!

  18. Asmaa says:

    Bonne fête à toi aussi, un délicieux plat qui à bien mijoté

  19. Nour El-Zibdeh says:

    Never heard of it before! Looks amazing… will consider for my next big family dinner. –Mu husband’s family love meat and lamb 🙂 so perfect!
    Merci beaucoup!

  20. Erica says:

    I don’t eat lamb, but the flavors are amazing I would love to try the recipe with other kind of meat. Happy Easter!

  21. Namitha says:

    that looks incredible..yum yumm

  22. Michelle says:

    I made Veal Stock several years and boy does that make any dish scrumptious! Forget the beef stock, it’s nothing but veal stock from now on! Take 2 days to make it but it’s so worth it!

  23. Juliana says:

    Lamb? Looks so yummie, what a nice meal for Easter 🙂 And the picture of the chick is so cute 🙂

  24. susan from food blogga says:

    I can only imagine how succulent the meat must have been after seven hours of slow cooking. It looks delicious.

  25. Dinners & Dreams says:

    Yummy, yummy! I would love that for dinner. It looks so delicious.


  26. Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes says:

    Happy Easter to you! The lamb dish looks fantastic!

  27. Tammy says:

    Oh, yum…this is on my list already. I was reading an article somewhere in which a famous French journalist (I forgot who, argh!) proclaimed this his favorite-ever dish. I’ve always wondered how it compares to my usual way which is for 2.5 hours. Must finally get around to making it–thanks for making it that much easier…

  28. heni says:

    Devine Joumana absouletly delish!

  29. Simply Life says:

    wow, nice work! looks like an amazing meal!

  30. T.W. Barritt says:

    Oh, my!!!! This looks “meltingly” delicious. Who needs a slow cooker anyway?

  31. Tangled Noodle says:

    I can just imagine how wonderfully tender this must have been! My husband loves lamb – I will have to try this for him. 😎

  32. sabah says:

    Joyeux Pâques!
    j’aime bien cette méthode de cuir l’agneau, une recette qui mérite d’etre notée, merci mon amie.

  33. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    Oh my gosh, how delicious. Lamb is my favourite meat, and I couldn’t imagine anything more tasty than a slow roast. I must try this!

  34. peter says:

    Happy Easter Joumana! There’s a recipe in a Greek cookbook similar to this that even includes the flour/dough covering. This dish sounds delish and worth the time it takes for the moist, flaky lamb result.

  35. farida says:

    I don’t mind the 7-hour cooking time:) The oven does the thing and it frees my stove for other things. I am sure the lamb tastes heavenly after such a long time. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  36. Doria says:

    L’agneau de 7 heures, j’adore !!!!
    J’en ai fais un également pour mon repas du lundi midi que je mets en ligne demain matin.
    Ta version me plait beaucoup et va être tester, c’est sur !
    Je te souhaite une très bonne soirée,
    Bisous, Doria

  37. petite nyonya says:

    This lamb meal looks really amazing. If only I could taste this! I bet yummylicious is the word to describe it!

  38. OysterCulture says:

    Oh my, that just looks like perfection, I’m going to have to have a dinner party just to have an excuse to cook this meal – sounds wonderful!

  39. Dania says:

    Hi Joumana,
    I love your recipes.. soo nice.
    I live in Dubai and always crave Lebanese home cooking, so thanks!

    Question: I have only 3.5 hours… how can i manage the 7 hour lamb???? any ideas??

  40. Dania says:

    This is the best ever!!
    I am so glad I diecovered ”Taste of Beirut” – yummmy
    I made this last week .. actually only cooked it in 6 hours cause i was pressed for time (i just cooked on 275F), and it was delicious (even my sister in law had to admit it – LOL)
    am making again tonight 🙂

  41. domi says:

    Depuis que je connais cette cuisson lente je suis devenu un fervent adepte et un fan. Le goût et la texture sont totalement différent, que du bonheur….

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