All Day Lamb

By • March 22, 2010 • 9 Comments

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Author Notes: Every single cook in France makes a version of this seven hour lamb, the famous Gigot de Sept Heures. You put it in the oven and try to forget about it for the next seven hours, except that the haunting aromas keep you checking your watch to see how long until dinner time. This is a dish for the busiest of days, since it tastes like you fussed over it all day long, but instead, you were probably off getting a haircut, running errands all over town, and having lunch with a girlfriend while it cooked peacefully by itself. And while every cook may have her own version, I swear, mine is the best. Really, it is!Abra Bennett

Food52 Review: Abra Bennett's All Day Lamb was a revelation. I've made lots of lamb -- it's hands down my favorite meat -- and have always turned to red wine, rosemary, garlic, all the standards for most of my lamb dishes. The addition of the sweet wine (I used half a bottle of Alsatian Riesling left over from a dinner and a split of Riesling Ice Wine from Canada, per The Dog's Breakfast's suggestion) infused the meat, the sauce and the carrots and shallots with a fantastic "what's that?" flavor. The house, as promised, smelled divine. Served this to a hungry group, driven nearly mad with the smells from the kitchen, with mashed potatoes, the delectable sauce, and a nice Rhone. No photos -- the guests had served themselves before I could even turn the camera on. - MrsWheelbarrowA&M

Serves 6

  • 1 leg of lamb, 3-4 lbs, deboned and tied (save the bones!)
  • 1 bottle off-dry or late harvest white wine*
  • 1 large square pork skin (optional)**
  • 2 bulbs very fresh garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 1 bouquet garni of parsley, thyme, and bay leaf tied together
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 8 large shallots, peeled and left whole (more if they’ll fit in your casserole dish)
  • salt, pepper, olive oil
  1. Have the butcher remove the bones from the lamb and tie it for you, if at all possible. Rub the lamb generously with salt, pepper, and olive oil, and set it aside to come to room temperature, about 1 hour. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet and brown the meat very well on all sides. Do this slowly, it will probably take 15 minutes to get it well browned. If you have room in the pan, brown the bones as well as you can. If they don’t fit, brown them separately after you remove the lamb. Stick the cloves into 4 of the shallots.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°. Line the bottom of a very large casserole with the pork skin, fat side down, if using, or oil it well.
  3. Put the meat, shallots, garlic, carrots, the browned bones, and the bouquet garni into the casserole. The shallots are especially delicious, so stuff in as many as you can. Pour the bottle of wine over all and cover the casserole tightly. Traditionally you’d seal the lid to the dish with a dough made of flour and water. I don’t have a huge lidded casserole, and most people don’t either these days, so I seal my casserole very tightly with heavy aluminum foil. You want to prevent any evaporation in the early stages of cooking.
  4. Place the casserole in the oven for 3-4 hours. After that time has passed, reduce the oven temperature to 275° and cook for another 3-4 hours. This dish is very flexible, so the time is elastic. If you need to remove the casserole from the oven for an hour to bake something delicious for dessert, just let the meat rest undisturbed on the counter. If you need to start it the night before, let it rest in the fridge overnight, and finish it the day you want to serve it, do that.
  5. For the final hour of cooking you want to have the dish uncovered. With a cup or ladle, scoop out as much of the sauce as you can, probably about 3 cups worth. Let the meat and vegetables continue to cook in the oven until well-bronzed. Let the sauce rest for half an hour, remove whatever fat has risen to the top, then boil the sauce gently for half an hour to reduce it to a smooth, pourable consistency.
  6. When you’re ready to serve the main course, remove the bones and the bouquet garni from the dish, set the whole casserole directly on the table, and serve to your delighted guests with mashed potatoes whipped with crème fraîche and lots of butter, and a pitcher of the reduced sauce on the side. You will be able to eat this with a spoon, should you be so inclined. It’s that tender.
  7. *Use something that’s not too sweet, not too expensive, but definitely not dry, and definitely white. You might try the Hogue Late Harvest Riesling, for example. Drink a red with the finished dish, but cook with a white. Trust me. **In France this is called couenne, and is easy to find. It keeps the meat from sticking to the pot, and also adds an elusive richness to the sauce. You may be able to get pork skin at a Chinese grocery or other ethnic market. If you can’t get pork skin, just oil the bottom of your dish.
Jump to Comments (9)

Tags: dinner party, Easy

Comments (9) Questions (0)

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over 2 years ago LizC

i love this recipe so much. it's become my go-to dinner party recipe.

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over 3 years ago avimom

Huge hit at our seder last night. I made it in the crockpot and it came out delish, although next time I will put my crockpot insert in the oven to finish for the last hour, as I didn't get the bronzed veggies. The reduced sauce was amazing and the shallots were like candy! I used a 2008 B. Lovely Washington State late harvest riesling.

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almost 4 years ago LizC

Made this today. Fantastic. I didn't have nearly as much sauce at end as the recipe indicated, so i didn't boil it down and it worked perfectly Great recipe. Thanks.

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over 4 years ago Tay

Never mind. I just re-read the recipe. I hadn't noticed it called for "cloves" and garlic cloves.

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over 4 years ago Tay

O.K., I've been cooking for most of my adult life, owned a catering business and taught cooking classes. How do you stuff a garlic clove into a shallot? I presume you have to remove some of the inner part of the shallot, correct?

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over 4 years ago The Dog's Breakfast

I was hoping someone would post this dish. This has been on my 'last supper' short list since a friend first served it to me 15 years ago. She braises for a full 12 hours, which is a long time to wait as the smell of it drives you mad... I love how simple and humbling and timeless this is. I'll be doing it for Easter, and your idea of late-harvest wine makes me think of using ice wine. Thanks for the inspiration.

Mrs._larkin_370

over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

This sounds so wonderful!

Rays-2

over 4 years ago Abra Bennett

Absolutely, spring garlic if you can get it!

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over 4 years ago dymnyno

Perfect using spring garlic?