If the 7 o’clock leg of lamb can frighten amateur cooks, this dish is ultimately terrifying only in its name. And in the butchers of the 14th and 16th arrondissements of Paris by Hugo Desnoyer, the leg of lamb is full every week. “Customers love it simply because it’s a foolproof recipe,” he explains. A good broth, quality meat, seasonal vegetables, all accompanied by a bottle of Pinot Noir … What more could you ask for? The recipe is not complicated, it is done on its own. ” Mass has been said.
How to choose the right lamb?
To choose the right lamb, Hugo Desnoyer advises, above all, to favor meat from local sources. First for the quality of the products found there, then to support the French market which is struggling to recover from the current health crisis. “Ah, I don’t risk having fun making Australian or New Zealand leg of lamb at” 10 bales “per kilo that you find in supermarkets, exclaims the butcher, known for his frankness. talk. Personally, I defend a French breed which is found in Lozère. I buy my supplies from a small group of breeders, Elovel, who leave between 300 and 400 lambs per week, which is very few on the market, and therefore already a guarantee of quality. “
Why Lozère? Because the lamb over there would be superbly well placed there. “The meadows are exceptional in this area, it brings something very fine in the mouth, very silky. After that, there are of course other regions, but each butcher has a hand and choices that are his. ” Note also that it is important to go to a real craftsman butcher, who knows his job and chooses his meat.
In terms of seasonality – and you might have guessed it as Easter approaches – spring is ideal! “This season, it’s really the best of the best, it goes for a lot of meats besides, because it is the moment when the grass grows back and therefore is the best. But today, we manage to find a regularity in the year which is nevertheless very correct ”, assures Hugo Desnoyer. If, however, you are planning to cook it for a paschal lunch, remember to reserve your room at least 4 to 5 days in advance. Good butchers are robbed at Easter time.
When it comes to meat, the butcher strongly recommends lambs that are slightly younger, and therefore lighter in weight. (around 13 kg, while the average in France is 18 kg, Editor’s note). “Often lambs that are too heavy in carcasses are those that have a very strong taste in the mouth, too woolly. Something that is absolutely not found in the little ones. ” As for the color, the red should not be too dark, but rather be in the palette of lighter reds. “At home, lambs from Lozère naturally tend towards orange. Proof, that the taste will be even sweeter in the mouth. “
Moreover, no need to turn to exceptional breeds, the price is very high and not always worth it. “Myself, I offered them in my butcher’s shop a few years ago, and if the first ones that were provided to me were real exceptional lambs, very often I realized that they were not ‘only their name was exceptional! “
How to perfect the recipe?
Once the meat is in your hands, the secret is the broth: “Either you make a nice reduction with, for example, bones and pieces of lamb trimmings. Either you prefer veal bones and scraps, or even a simple poultry broth, which will be much less fatty than that of lamb. And if you’re really not good, take a few pieces of chicken, some stock cubes and let’s go. ” Note that you can also find your happiness ready at a caterer, or even in supermarkets if you are in a hurry. But especially in large quantities, because it takes a lot.
What about vegetables? “Making this beautiful bed of garnishes at the bottom of the dish on which the leg of lamb will rest is first of all to favor seasonal vegetables but above all vegetables that make you want to eat,” considers Hugo Desnoyer. Carrots, potatoes, celery, tomato… Anything goes. They are served with a tasty aromatic garnish – for example thyme, bay leaf, garlic – and the leg of lamb is placed there. ” It will thus be necessary to have a dish high enough to literally drown the meat in its broth, because it is this famous 7-hour cooking which, by dint of reducing, will create the said juice ready to make everyone agree. .
In the recipe for the 7-hour leg, the main issue is still cooking. To succeed every time, it is important to start by searing the meat well, to give it this beautiful color. And that’s about it. The broth, as well as the low temperature, will take care of the cooking on their own. “With us, the legs of lamb cook overnight for the next day. But anyone in their kitchen can cook it for 4 or 5 hours at 130 degrees, which will be more than enough. ” Moreover, no need to use a cast iron casserole dish, any fairly high oven dish will do.
No need either to encumber you with the famous dough used by some chefs to “lute the casserole” and make it airtight. “Personally, I never do it, for me it’s a technique reserved for big houses. And I don’t think it’s of much interest for the leg. The ideal, in this recipe, is still that it is as simple as it tastes, right? ” Yes, because here, there is no risk of missing out. You don’t even need a thermometer. At such a low temperature, it is simply impossible to attack the meat. The particularity of this cooking is to confine the lamb, it will be even more melting in the mouth.
However, it is forbidden to touch the meat before it is cooked. “It spoils it and deprives it of its juice, it is prohibited,” warns Hugo, only half joking. So if some people have fun incising their leg in order to garnish it, it is better to forget this nasty habit, and not to incur the wrath of the famous Parisian butcher.
And the next day, what do we do with it?
Still not quite convinced? This is the moment to point out that, even prepared the day before for the next day, your leg of lamb will retain its flavor and its melting texture in the mouth, precisely thanks to this very gentle cooking. “To do this, you just have to coat the dish with a large amount of aluminum, forget it for a good 35 minutes at 150 degrees and we go back.”
For the more daring, there will always be time to divert the leftovers to multiply the pleasures. In shepherd’s pie, in a pulled lamb burger or in a sandwich pulled pork and Lebanese shawarma … You are free to let your imagination run wild with this comforting dish that can be enjoyed over several rounds. And in these troubled times, who could say better?
Butcher’s shop Hugo Desnoyer, 28 rue du Docteur Blanche, 75016 Paris. Phone. : 01 46 47 83 00.
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