I have made this slow-roasted leg of lamb on four special occasions and it has never disappointed. It is very easy to prepare and once it is in the oven you have five hours to either prep your side dishes or sit down with a glass of full-bodied red wine. The best moment I always remember about this dish is the lamb pull! It is SO SATISFYING and gives me and the guests pure pleasure just watching the meat fall off the bone. And the jus.. It is just so rich, slightly sticky and full of herby and garlicky flavours. This dish is just pure heaven and I can guarantee your dinner centrepiece will be the talk of the whole evening!
Let’s dig right in
I discovered the slow-roasted leg of lamb, also known as agneau de sept heures in French after I received one of Michel Roux Jr’s recipe book that featured this recipe. After checking the length of time needed to make Michel’s version (more precisely a week just for marinating the lamb) I decided to make my own not-so-fancy version of the recipe but with similar bold flavours. Lamb is a meat full of flavours and you do not need much to turn it into a spectacular dish. After testing my quicker, no-frills recipe I was so satisfied that I made it over and over again, and everytime it wowed guests. Let me show you my shortcut version of the agneau de sept heures.
What you need for this slow-roasted leg of lamb
- Leg of lamb: You need a decent size of lamb for this recipe, and the leg with the bone in brings an intense flavour to the dish.
- Red onions: Using red onions not only gives the lamb a strong flavour but also adds colour.
- Garlic bulb: Garlic roasted in red wine is just so soft and perfect for flavouring the jus.
- Carrot: Root vegetables like carrot is perfect as it still keeps its shape after 5 hours of cooking.
- Red wine: Go for full bodied red wine. It gives the lamb a deep flavour and makes a perfectly thick silky jus.
- Olive oil: It helps sear the lamb to give a golden brown colour.
- Thyme and Rosemary: Both herbs are strong flavours which will fill the lamb and the kitchen with a great smell even after roasting.
- Soy sauce: It helps balance the taste of the dish.
- Cloves and cinnamon: These warming spices are perfect for a lamb dish.
How to make slow-roasted leg of lamb
My version of the slow roast leg of lamb is quite simple and requires ingredients that are easy to find in the pantry. Start with marinating the leg of lamb by making incisions in the fat areas. Slice a few garlic cloves and push these into the incisions, along with thyme and rosemary. Add a good sprinkle of salt and pepper, and rub it with the soy sauce and oil by giving it a good massage. You can do this a day ahead if you prefer a longer time to marinate the lamb, otherwise you can sear the meat straight away. Browning the leg of lamb helps to seal in all the good flavours and gives it a lovely golden brown colour before it goes in the oven.
If you have a cast iron dish large enough to fit a whole leg of lamb you can use it. Otherwise use a roasting tin with high sides that will be able to hold the liquid. To the roasting tin place the lamb in the middle and cover with the red wine. Add the herbs, onions, vegetables, garlic bulb and spices, and cover with a double layer of foil. This will help keep the lamb moist during the cooking. Now all you have to do is wait 5 hours for the lamb to be cooked. Pour yourself a glass of full-bodied red wine and relax.
The red wine jus
After 5 hours of slow roasting most of the liquid from the wine would have evaporated, leaving a rich jus that is bursting with flavours. Remove the herb sprigs and all you need to do is flake the meat off the bone and serve it. You do not need to make a gravy as the jus can be spooned onto the meat with its onions, carrots and roasted garlic. Serve it with your favourite potatoes and roasted root vegetables.
Another lamb recipe you can try if you liked the slow-cooked lamb is the herb-crusted roast leg of lamb which is perfect if you prefer a quicker roasting time. The herb crust keeps the lamb so moist and wonderfully herby. If you have enjoyed these recipes make sure to add a comment below. It gives me great joy to read your comments. Also do tag @halfacoco in your photo if you make this recipe and share it on your social media. I would love to see it!
- 1 whole leg of lamb, approx 2.5kg
- 2 red onions, sliced
- 1 garlic bulb + 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 large carrot, roughly sliced
- 1 bottle full bodied red wine
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 250C. Insert a knife into the fat side of the lamb, making incisions. Push the sliced garlic, thyme and rosemary into the incisions. Drizzle with the olive oil and the soy sauce, and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a heavy-based pan and sear the lamb until browned on the outside.
- Place the lamb in a deep roasting tin. Scatter the onions and carrots around it and place the garlic bulb. Pour the wine over the lamb and sprinkle the leftover herbs, cloves and cinnamon.
- Cover the tray with a double layer of thick foil and place in the oven. Reduce the heat to 170C and roast for 5 hours.
- When done the meat should easily fall of the bone when digging a fork in. Take the lamb out of the oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Amount Per Serving