Lammschlegel, that’s leg of lamb and the thing you would do for a Sunday lunch in the old days. In our family, it is cooked with root vegetables and stewed for several hours on the stove or in the stove pipe, the idea was that you’d prepare it before church and let it cook until you got home. I find it very practical when having guests, because you can prepare it well in advance and slow cooking gives me refreshing flexibility around serving the main course.
Lamb season has only just begun now and it will run well into Easter tide. So now is the time to get your hands on it!
What you’ll need:
- One leg of lamb
- Two onions
- Two carrots
- One leek
- A quarter of a celery root
- Five cloves of garlic
- Twenty cloves
- Three bay leaves
- Rosemary twigs
- Thyme twigs
- Sunflower seed oil
- 1/2 to one litre of bone broth
- Salt and pepper
- 50g of cold butter
How to cook it
Secure the bay leaves on the onions with the cloves and stick the rest of the cloves into the onions. Chop the vegetable into rough cubes
In a large cast iron pan with a lid, fry the leg in sunflower seed oil at high temperature, five minutes per side, so roughly twenty minutes. Deglaze with the bone broth and add herbs, onions, garlic and root vegetables and bring it all to bubble. Then close the lid and immediately reduce to low temperature. Let cook for 3 to four hours, depending on how big the leg is. As a reference, it should only just about barely bubble, otherwise the meat will get chewy. I usually check the roast about four times and sprinkle the cooking liquid over the meat. Also I turn the leg at half time, so that both sides bubble in the liquid. If you have a thermometer, around 65° C inside temperature gives you a juicy pink meat.
Where I come from apple cider was used a lot for cooking. At this time of the year it already starts turning very dry and that’s what’s best for this kind of dish. So if you can get a hold on dry apple cider, just replace half to three quarters of the broth with it, it’s very delicious.
When the meat is done, wrap it into tinfoil and set it aside in a warm spot. Meanwhile, strain the cooking liquid into a sauce pan and reduce by one third, then take off the heat and stir in the icy cold butter. Season if necessary.
Cut the meat in thin slices and sprinkle a little fleur de sel and pepper over them. Serve with vegetables and some ribel aside (the basic recipe is here) and the sauce.
How to eat it
On a relaxed Sunday, no plans other than eating and drinking and enjoying good company. We had a Cote de Beaune, one of my favourites, the vineyard sits on the ruins of an ancient gallo-roman temple, and it was a very pleasant afternoon.