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I am a huge fan of Jennifer McLagan's and at a later date I will divulge details of the book that came after Bones (Fat!) but this is the title that brought me to her. She writes elegantly, cooks lusciously, and this Seven-Hour Leg of Lamb is a timely choice as Easter beckons.

by Jennifer McLagan (HarperCollins, 2005)

Seven Hour Leg of Lamb

Friends were invited for dinner and I wanted to spend time with them, not in the kitchen. Knowing that my friends would be late, I made this traditional French dish, which can happily spend an extra hour in the oven or sit, covered, for thirty minutes while you enjoy a predinner drink.

Despite the name, this lamb dish needs only about 5½ hours to cook.  No carving is necessary - you can serve this dish with a spoon.

Just as my lamb was ready, one couple called to say they would be late.  I left my lamb in the oven, turned it off, and enjoyed a drink.

Serves 6


  • 1 leg of lamb, about 5 pounds (2.5 kg)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 onions, halved and sliced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into ½-inch (1 cm)- thick rounds
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) dry white wine
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • About 2 cups (500 ml) Lamb Stock
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 large rosemary sprig



  1. One hour before cooking, remove the lamb from the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC)
  2. Pat the lamb dry and season with salt and pepper.  In a large Dutch oven or flameproof casserole, melt half the butter with half the oil over medium heat.  Add the lamb and brown on all sides.  Transfer the lamb to platter.
  3. Discard any fat from the pot, and add the remaining butter and oil.  Add the onions and cook until softened.  Add the carrots and cook until the onions begin to brown.  Pour in the wine, add the garlic, and bring to a boil, deglazing the pot by scraping up the browned bits from the bottom.
  4. Place the lamb meatiest side up atop the vegetables, then add enough stock so that the leg is two-thirds submerged.  Add the bay leaves and rosemary, season with salt and pepper, and bring to the boil.  Cover the lamb with a piece of damp parchment paper and then the lid, transfer to the oven, and cook for 2½ hours.
  5. Remove the lamb from the oven and baste it with the cooking juices.  Lower the oven temperature to 300ºF (150ºC), and cook the lamb, uncovered, for 2½ to 3 hours, basting every 30 minutes.  The lamb is cooked when the meat comes away fom the bone; the meat will be a rich dark brown.
  6. Discard the bay leaves and rosemary. Skim off the fat from the cooking liquid, but don't try to remove the lamb from the pot, as it would fall to pieces.  Serve the lamb directly from the pot, with the carrots and cooking juices.