Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gigot d'Agneau de Sept Heures à la Bretonne

One of our favourite Sunday meals is a roast leg of lamb, or Gigot d'Agneau, seasoned with herbs, wine, vegetables and garlic served à la Bretonne, with stewed cannellini or white navy beans. This weekend we decided to try Anthony Bourdain's French classic Gigot de Sept Heures, a leg of lamb that is slow-cooked for seven hours until it's fall-off-the-bone tender! Bourdain's recipe for Gigot de Sept Heures, infuses the kitchen with a heavenly aroma as the lamb slow cooks all afternoon, in an ambrosial broth of white wine, herbs and plenty of garlic, creating a succulent leg of lamb that "will be so damn tender, that you'll be able to eat with a spoon." A traditional French custom, that's exactly what did, serving the lamb — à la cuillère — with a spoon!

Boneless leg of lamb studded with garlic and seasoned with salt, pepper and dried rosemary with a bouquet garni and an additional 20 cloves of peeled garlic

The lamb after 7 hours of cooking at 300°F

The leg of lamb is so succulent and tender that it just falls apart, 
and is traditionally served with a spoon - à la cuillère 

White beans sautéed with olive oil, salt, pepper, bay leaf and rosemary

Gigot d'Agneau de sept heures
Serves 6-8

1 leg of lamb, about 6 lbs
24 garlic cloves, 4 thinly sliced and slivered; 20 peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
8 whole shallots, peeled
4 carrots, peeled
1 bouquet garni: sprig of parsley, thyme and bay leaf tied with string
1 cup dry white wine

Preheat oven to 300°F. Using a paring knife, make many small incisions around the leg and place a sliver of garlic in each pocket. Rub the lamb well with olive oil and season all over with coarse salt and black pepper. Place it in an enamelled dutch oven such as Le Creuset, or heavy cooking pot with tightly fitting lid, and add the onions, carrots, cloves of garlic, bouquet garni and wine. Cover and cook in the oven for 7 hours, and no peeking. 

Remove the lamb to a plate, cover it tightly with foil and allow it to rest. Strain the sauce into a saucepan and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes to reduce. Adjust the seasoning and serve alongside the lamb, which is traditionally served with a spoon - à la cuillère - as the French call it. Bon appétit!

Tuscan White Beans with Rosemary
Serves 6-8
Recipe courtesy of South Beach Cookbook

4 tbsp olive oil
4 bay leaves
3 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
3 tsp fresh rosemary, whole leaves
3 15-ounce cans Cannellini or White Navy beans, rinsed and drained
Fresh ground black pepper and Maldon salt

Heat oil, bay leaves and dried rosemary in a saucepan over medium heat, until the oil begins to bubble, about 1-2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook 2 more minutes. Add the beans and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook the beans through, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary and a grinding of black pepper. Serve warm.

Garlic Sautéed Rapini
Serves 6-8

2 bunches rapini, washed and trimmed
3 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes

In large deep skillet of boiling water, cover and cook the rapini until the stalks are tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and chill in ice water, then squeeze and pat dry. In the same skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and cook the garlic, salt and hot pepper flakes until the garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the rapini and cook, while stirring, until it warms through, about 5-6 minutes.

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