Seven-hour Leg of Lamb

Gigot de sept heures...a traditional French peasant dish.

1 medium leg of lamb, trimmed
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp brandy
Black pepper, freshly ground
40 garlic cloves (or about 4 heads), peeled
2 sprigs rosemary, or a few thyme sprigs (2 to 3)
1 cup white wine, or good stock

Heat the oil in a large pan and brown the leg on all sides. Pour the brandy over and ignite. Shake the pan gently until the flames die down. (The flambéing isn't strictly necessary but I do it whenever there is even the vaguest suggestion in the recipe—must be an arsonist at heart.)

Season well with pepper and salt, then place in a casserole or steak pan (I guess a roemertopf might also be suitable) and arrange the garlic cloves and rosemary or thyme sprigs around it. Pour the wine or stock into the frying pan, bring to boil and scrape. Pour over leg of lamb. Cover, place in oven, turn it on at 225°F and cook for (up to) 7 hours. The meat will be very tender, almost falling off the bone, and very garlicky. Place a strainer over a bowl and pour the liquid and garlic into it; mash the garlic through the strainer with a spoon. Skim fat off the juices and serve with the meat (thickened if you wish).