Six good eaters have actually finished a whole leg of lamb at our house! This recipe also halves well, you can buy a 4-lb. leg of lamb (it takes 4 hours).
7–9 lb. bone-in leg of lamb (if it’s longer than 14 inches, have butcher crack shinbone so it'll fit pan)
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, peeled & quartered
6 cloves garlic
10 shallots, peeled
2–4 oz. pancetta, chopped (opt.)
1 bottle red wine -Zinfandel is good
2–4 cups beef or lamb stock
Fresh rosemary or thyme
4 bay leaves
4 tbsp. tomato paste
Use a 14 x 11-inch oval (9 1/2 qt.) Le Creuset pot for the lamb.
Cut most of the fat and the entire fell (the thin, tough membrane covering the meat) from the lamb. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in the pot and brown lamb slowly on all sides, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 300º. Remove lamb & set aside. Sauté onion, shallots, & garlic (w/ pancetta, if used) until caramelized–about 20 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Discard fat in pan. Add wine & 2 cups stock and boil rapidly until reduced by half, scraping up any browned bits. Add herbs & tomato paste.
Return sautéed vegetables and lamb, fat side up, to the pot. If needed, pour in enough additional stock to reach two-thirds of the way up sides of meat. Cover tightly & bake until done, basting often and turning occasionally to keep the lamb from becoming dry. As the meat cooks and is constantly basted, the rich sauce is absorbed and the meat becomes very succulent.
The dish is done when the lamb falls off the bone in pieces when prodded with a fork – this takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour/lb. (after browning). Plan on seven hours total for an entire leg of lamb.
Remove the lamb to a warm platter. Cover with heavy foil to keep warm. Pour off all the liquid into a container & put in the freezer for a few minutes to congeal the fat. Remove the fat, then place the rest of the liquid into a saucepan. Boil down for about 20 minutes, until it is rich and thick. Correct the seasoning, discard the bay leaves, and serve as a sauce over the lamb & vegetables.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Serve w/ Potato & Root Vegetable Mash or Roasted Vegetables.
Source of recipe: Marie-Louise