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
- Ask your butcher to debone the lamb, cut the bone in manageable pieces and give you back your lamb and its bones.
- 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.
- In the meantime, tie your lamb with kitchen string to give it a nice shape, close to its original shape.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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!
- Gently remove the lamb from the pot; cut off the string. Set it aside in an oven proof serving dish.
- Strain the sauce, degrease it and if cold, reheat it till it simmer and place in a separate sauce dish.
- 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.
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