Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dutch Oven Braised 7 Hour Leg of Lamb

We received a call this week from our friends at Slagle Farms informing us our spring lambs were ready, so I ran down to take a look at the freezer and discovered that we still had one leg of lamb left from last spring. I decided to take the plunge and try a 7 hour wine braise on this one. I can tell you that I now understand what all the fuss is about. This is absolutely the best leg of lamb I've ever tasted. I did end up cheating a little, and although I used my good old 12 inch Lodge cast iron camp dutch oven, I cooked it in the oven instead of outside with coals. This was due to several things (other irons in the fire) I had going on, and I didn't want to have to spend the day babysitting the dutch oven.

bone in leg of lamb (4-5 lbs)
sea salt, black pepper, dried basil, 10 cloves garlic
olive oil
4 large onions sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 lb. bag of little carrots
6 potatoes peeled and cut into 1-2 " chunks
2 cans low sodium chicken broth
2 - 3 cups white wine (I used a Chardonnay)

Preheat oven to 300F degrees.
Stud the lamb with 10 or 12 fat garlic spikes.
Brush it with the olive oil and then rub in the salt, pepper, and dried basil. I would have used additional herbs but this was all I had in the kitchen.
Heat a few tbs. olive oil in the bottom of the dutch oven and brown the lamb.
Remove lamb from dutch oven and pour in wine. Heat to boiling and reduce. Meanwhile add remaining garlic crushed to wine. Add additional basil.
Add the sliced onions and carrots into the wine mixture.
Set browned lamb gently on top of onions and carrots in dutch oven.
Surround lamb with potatoes.
Carefully pour in chicken broth around the edges and continue to heat to simmer.
Add additional spices and herbs if wanted.
Place lid on dutch oven.
Bake at 300F degrees for 7 hours.
(After about 4 hours, I did carefully turn the meat over one time)

To serve:
This is a one dish complete meal. The meat is so tenderly braised that it does actually fall off the bone. I separated the meat from the bone and served it and the vegetables with the deliciously aromatic and flavorful juices.

The bottom line is that this lamb is tender, moist, and wonderfully delicious. As an added bonus, my house smelled heavenly all day while it cooked, and it was an incredibly easy one dish clean up.