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7-hour leg of lamb

April 15, 2011 No Comments

This is the first time I have started writing a post before actually tasting the dish that’s in the oven cooking. Why have I done this? Well because I have 7, yes SEVEN hours to wait for it to cook!

I have cooked many roasts in my cooking time, I LOVE roasts and I have waited many hours for them to finish doing their cooking thing but I can’t say I have ever waited 7 hours for a little 1.2 kilo roast to cook. ‘Good things come to those who wait’ right? Well let’s hope this saying relates to food as well. The other saying that comes to mind is ‘patience is a virtue’!!!!! Perhaps not one of my strongest points but I think this is the very reason I chose this recipe for this month’s installment of the 365 challenge. I need to exercise the muscle of delaying gratification!

Delaying gratification is not one of my strong points when it comes to food and apparently this says a lot about my personality. There was an experimented conducted on 4 year olds called the ‘Marshmallow test’. It was to show that the ability to resist impulse and exhibit restraint and self control would be a marker for success in later life. Lucky for me I don’t really like marshmallows :)

The four year olds were given two choices. They could receive one marshmallow now or wait and receive two additional marshmallows once the researcher returned to the room some time later. These same children were observed years later and those that opted to wait where more likely to be more successful in their lives generally. Being more able to deal with life’s challenges and their relationships, they had higher IQs and they were capable of initiating and completing self-directed projects. Hmmm…. I wonder what this says about me?

This test has been conducted many times since the original test by Prof. Walter Mischel, at Stanford University in 1972. Here is an example of one of the many documented tests of this kind.

Back to my 7-hour roasting extravaganza. It was beautiful to eat. The smell was divine. I just love cooking meat in wine. In this case the roast was cooked in white wine which ensured that it was tender, juicy and very tasty. As you can imagine the meat fell off the bone.

This dish reminds me a bit of the first challenge I did, which was the Lamb Knuckles. I think the main reason is because it was cooked in wine. I love the dimension that wine adds to cooking, especially meat. It was delicious.

I love how all of Reynaud’s recipes teach me something new about French cooking. In this recipe the ingredients call for ‘Herbs de Provence’. After a little homework I discovered that the Herbs de Provence mix contains equal parts of thyme, marjoram, basil, tarragon, crushed bay leaf, fennel, sage and lavender. I am sure there are variations to this but this is the mix I settled on. You can probably find a pre-mix of this if you go to a specialty herb store.


  • 1.2kg leg of lamb, bone in
  • Olive oil
  • 6 Garlic Cloves
  • 6 French Shallots
  • 1 Sprig of rosemary
  • 1 tbsp Herbs de Provence
  • 500ml white wine
  • Salt and pepper

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 100°C.
  2. Place lamb leg in a heavy flameproof casserole dish. Place over high heat and colour on both sides.
  3. Peel the garlic and shallots, add to the lamb dish with the rosemary, Herbs de Provence and white wine and season.
  4. Cover, cook in the oven for 7 hours. Baste from time to time with the juices, adding a little water, if necessary. The lamb should be very tender.

The only tricky thing for me was that this recipe requires your oven to be able to run at 100°C. I discovered that mine does not! So I cooked the roast at 120°C, the lowest it would go without cutting out. I reduced the cooking time to 6 hours for this reason. I am not sure if this variation made much of a difference but it was beautiful never the less.

Thanks again Mr Reynaud. I just love cooking with you every month! I wish I literally had you in my kitchen but I am sure there is a long queue for that!

Buon Appetito.




Tags: , , , , , 365 Challenge, 365 Good Reasons To Sit Down To Eat, Books, French cooking, Stéphane Reynaud, Veal with polenta and blue cheese sauce, Vegetables

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