Seven-hour lamb or Gigot de sept heures
adapted by Roz MacAllan
I cooked this last Saturday night for guests. The onions stay intact so I served them in a separate dish at the table. I only plated up the meat and served the vegetables in platters. It is the easiest option to serve guests at home when you don’t have a bevy of kitchen attendants.
I first tasted this dish by cooking it myself and always have good results but I wanted to eat the original French version so last year I tracked down a restaurant in Paris that makes a feature of this dish. It was as good as I had hoped, but I was disappointed in everything else I had on the menu. They appear to be relying on this speciality to keep the customers coming through the door.
Large leg of lamb – ask butcher to saw leg end if necessary to fit your cooking pot
4-5 garlic cloves, quartered
5-6 anchovy fillets
4-5 onions, peeled and halved – add 2 – 3 more if you have a large cook pot as in the photo
2 cups dry white wine
3 cups chicken or veal stock
Bouquet garni – I tie together with string and enclose in a muslin bag a sprig of fresh sage, parsley, bay leaf and thyme.
Flour & water to make a paste to seal the lid
Freshly cracked pepper and freshly ground sea salt
Olive oil for searing meat
Flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped for garnish
Preheat oven to 180c. Trim fat and membranes of skin from lamb. Make incisions into lamb and press in the garlic wrapped in pieces of anchovy.
Season the meat with the pepper and salt.
In a large metal/cast iron casserole heat oil, if not suitable use a frypan and brown lamb on all sides. Remove meat and cover base of casserole dish with onions, cut side down and sit lamb on top. Pour in wine and stock until onions are just covered. Add bouquet garni.
Make a thick paste from flour and water and seal the lid firmly. Set timer for ½ hour to cook at 180c and then lower heat to 120c. Bake for seven hours. Remove lamb. I strain the juice and put in the freezer for 1 hour so the fat rises to the top. Scoop off the fat and heat the juice, it will be runny, it is not a traditional gravy unless you want it to be one with added cornflour.
I like to serve this with mashed potatoes or saffron rice, whole small carrots and whatever green vegetables are in season.