Seven-Hour Leg of Lamb

Slow-cooking a leg of lamb in wine with garlic and herbs transforms the meat into an ultra-tender entree that goes marvelously with stewed white beans.

Seven-Hour Leg of Lamb
Slow-cooking a leg of lamb in wine with garlic and herbs transforms the meat into an ultra-tender entrée that goes marvelously with stewed white beans. French recipe for leg of lamb and stewed white beans.
Yield: serves 6-8

FOR THE LAMB:

  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (4-lb.) shank end leg of lamb or a 4-lb. piece of shoulder, trimmed
  • 20 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 10 sprigs each fresh rosemary, thyme, and savory
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle dry white wine
  • 5 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

FOR THE BEANS:

  • 2 cups dried white beans, preferably cannellini or white coco, soaked overnight
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme and parsley and a bay leaf tied together with kitchen twine
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. crème fraîche

Instructions

  1. Cook the lamb: Heat oven to 300˚. Rub lamb with oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add lamb and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 12 minutes. Transfer lamb to a plate. Add wine and 2 cups water to the Dutch oven; scrape up browned bits from bottom of pot. Nestle garlic and herbs into a large oval casserole; place lamb on top of herbs; add pan juices from Dutch oven. Cover lamb with foil; transfer to oven and roast, basting frequently, for 3 12 hours. Uncover, flip lamb, and continue to cook, basting frequently, until lamb is very tender, 3–3 12 more hours. Transfer to a rack and let cool for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the beans: About 1 12 hours before the lamb is done, drain beans and transfer to a 4-qt. saucepan along with 6 cups water, 4 cloves garlic, and the herb bundle. Insert the cloves into the onion and add to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 hour. Remove pot from heat and season with salt and pepper. Discard herbs and strain beans, reserving cooking liquid. Transfer 2 cups beans, 14 cup cooking liquid, oil, crème fraîche, and remaining garlic clove to a blender and purée. Stir puréed bean mixture and about 1 cup of the cooking liquid back into pot and cover to keep warm until lamb is cooked. Serve the lamb sliced or torn into chunks, alongside the beans.

Pairing Note: This rich Provençal dish calls for a wine with ripe tannins from the south of France, like the Domaine Leon Barral Faugères 2004 ($33), from the Languedoc. —Ania Zawieja