Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gigot d'agneau à la cuillère.

    "Leg of lamb served with a spoon" is what food writer Trish Deseine calls this succulent dish in her cookbook Nobody Does It Better...Why French home cooking is still the best in the world. One glance (and you could say the same about English-speaking cookbook writers who live some, or all, of the time in France) and you know that she hasn't Anglicized her recipes for non-French residents. For one thing, Deseine doesn't stint on alcohol.  Gigot d'agneau à la cuillère calls for a litre of white and an optional glass of cognac.
Here's how it looks ready to go in the oven.
    You start by boning a leg of lamb with a very sharp knife and a great deal of care. Watch YouTube videos of how to do this by all means but note that it's not quite as simple as it looks. Fortunately all scrags and tags will get hidden inside once you tie the lamb into a tidy-ish bundle. Next you stud the meat liberally with slivers of garlic before you brown it on all sides. In go the chopped onions, shallots, carrots celery, bay leaves, sprigs of rosemary and thyme, wine and cognac. The pot goes in the oven for seven hours and that, my friends, is it. Take a look at it halfway through if you like to check that the wine level hasn't dropped too far, and top up with water or chicken stock if need be.
     You can indeed cut this deeply flavoured lamb apart with a spoon, buttery mashed potatoes sop up the jus, and leftovers of both, as we found out last night, make a stupendously good shepherd's pie.

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