23 February 2012

Seven Hour Lamb

I first tried a similar recipe to this from Stephanie Alexander's book: Cooking and Travelling in South West France. For those reading who are not Australian, she is as close to we get as a mother and mentor to all food lovers. She doesn't only cook - she also used to run one of the most famous restaurants in Melbourne, and now she has "retired" to the garden - A kitchen garden, for kids. She's a bit of a superwoman really...


I made her 7-hour lamb with anchovies and garlic, and it was incredible. When I tried to lift the leg out of the pot, the entire bone came away. Our neighbours had been smelling at our door all day, and literally came begging - for food, and the recipe.

I've made it several times since. I still call it seven hour lamb, but sometimes its 7 hours at 120°C, and others its 5 hours at 140°C. Sometimes I make it with a bone-in leg of lamb, and sometimes I make it without the bone. Sometimes it fits in a pot, and others, when it doesn't (like last night), I put it in a deep tray and cover it with a few layers of foil. It always works. It's a fairly traditional french recipe, and it appears many chefs make a version (including Nigella). My simplified one is below.

  • 1 whopping piece of lamb (mine was a 2.2kg leg)
  • copious amounts of garlic
  • black peppercorns
  • 10 slices of streaky bacon
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • splash of white wine
  • 2 litres of stock (I used hot water and bouillon)
  • salt to taste
  1. Set oven to 220°C, then trim any large pieces of visable gristle (leave thin layers of fat - they make it taste good and will dissolve), then stab the meat all over and stuff in cloves of garlic and peppercorns. Then cover with the slices of bacon, and place in a pot or deep baking pan (no bones hanging out please - if they do, get a bigger pot) and splash over some white wine.
  2. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes or until just browned, then take it out and add stock and rosemary to the pot and cover well (we don't want the steam escaping. Stephanie seals the pot with dough, but I have found this unnecessary)
  3. reduce heat to 120°C and forget about it. (let's hope you remember to put it in at lunchtime, or you're stuffed)

When the lamb is finished, there will be a stack of liquid. You can strain this and serve as is, or reduce it, or even get slack and add a bit of flour or gravy powder over the heat. I diced some onions and chilli, and browned them, then added some smoked paprika and then the liquid and reduced. I served mine with some puy lentils cooked in stock, sugar snap peas and rice. If you would like to add vegetables to the stock while the lamb is cooking, this is also delicious. Add about 5 1/2 to 6 hours in, and remember to take them out about 10 minutes before you serve and brown them in a frypan if you like them crispy.


  1. Hi there,

    we love Stephanie's cooking. We are devotees to "kitchen garden companion" and love the idea of cooking from our own naturally grown produce.

    This lamb looks amazing - sure to hit our table this Autumn!

    Please come and visit our new blog;


    We'd love to hear your thoughts.

    All the best.

    Adam & Kristy

  2. Sounds delicious, I immediately shared the recipe with a friend. Can't wait to try it.

  3. We have a similar recipe for slow cooking lamb in Arabic cuisine. I know this method of cooking lamb always produces scrumptious results, the meat is always super tender easily pulled off the bone... yumminess!! Love this recipe and enjoyed reading your post :))


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