Long-Roast Leg of Lamb
Recipe by Carr Biggerstaff
A friend shows up with a leg of lamb and a paper sack filled with fresh herbs and asks me to cook the leg, claiming that he will bring the cherry sauce. I unwrapped the leg and let it dry-age in the refrigerator for 2 days. This is basically a classic recipe for roasting a leg of lamb, the old way. And just in case your friend does not bring the sauce, it is included in this recipe.
Suggested wine pairings: Pinot Noir, Syrah
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 6-7 hours
Lamb – on entire leg (shank included)
Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Sea salt – 1 tsp
Ground black pepper – 2 tsp
White wine – 1 bottle (750ml)
Water – 1 cup and more as needed
Garlic – 10 cloves, peeled
Red onion – 1 large, chopped
Rosemary – 5 sprigs fresh (2 tsp dried)
Thyme – 5 sprigs fresh (2 tsp dried)
Savory – 5 sprigs fresh (2 tsp dried)
Bay leaves – 3-5 (depending on size)
Pinot Noir – 1 cup
Dried cherries – 1½ cups.
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Rub the entire leg with olive oil and season with the salt and pepper.
- Place in a large roasting pan hip-side down and roast for 30 minutes.
- Remove, reduce the oven temperature to 300ºF and let the leg rest for 10 minutes.
- Distribute the onion, garlic and herbs on top of, under and around the leg. Add the wine and 1 cup of water.
- Cover the roasting pan with foil and seal as well as possible. Return the pan to the oven.
- Check the leg after it has been in the oven for 4 hours, then after another hour, to make sure that there is enough liquid to prevent the gravy/fonde from scorching. Add water as necessary.
- Remove from the oven after 6 hours. Let rest for 15 minutes.
- Pull the meat from the bone and place into a slow cooker or other container to keep the meat moist and hot while you make the sauce.
- Remove the bones and fat from the roasting pan.
- Transfer the gravy from the roasting pan to a saucepan. Scrape the fonde from the roasting pan into the saucepan.
- Add the Pinot Noir and bring to a low boil. Remove from the heat and let stand 15 minutes. Skim as much of the fat (oil) off the top as you can.
- Bring the sauce back to a low boil and add the dried cherries.
- Simmer for 30 minutes. Add more wine as needed to thin the sauce.
Serving Suggestions: Au gratin potatoes, white beans and streamed broccoli.