Bonjour ! As many young people my age in Paris, I love going to restaurants but when it comes to cooking, only very recently did I outgrow the dishes I put together during my university years. When I settled in with my Fidanzato, I had to learn to cook. I do not expect him to live off my lazy salads…
So the recipes I am showing you are not food magazines worthy, but they are candid demonstrations of a new cook with no culinary schools background, with limited tools, but with great expectations. These recipes are not Fondamentally’s, they are mostly traditional dishes.
The Agneau à la cuillère or the agneau de 7 heures is a dish I prepare when I want to treat a family member, say my visiting Papa. It is festive yet very homely and simple.
A traditional and elegant dish for Easter, the Agneau à la cuillère is named this way because the lamb is cooked up to 7 hours in the oven, and can be cut with a spoon instead of with a knife.
Please make sure you have 7 hours to devote to this dish, because you will need to come from time to time to check on the lamb in the oven and pour wine on it, to keep its moisture. If you own a cocotte, a Le Creuset one for instance, it is much better to use it instead of a regular dish.
Ingredients for 4-6 people :
– 1 leg of lamb of about 2 kg
– Some carrots, onions or scallions, tomatoes, garlic, laurels and thyme. As many as you like!
– 2 bottles of wine (white or red)
– chicken, beef or vegetable broth
– olive oil, pepper and salt.
First step first, preheat the oven to 120°C. Sprinkle some salt on the lamb and then, in a pan or in a cocotte if you own one, brown it in a little oil or butter. This is supposed to keep the moisture in the meat.
Then it is time to put in the cocotte or the oven dish the browned lamb with some vegetables. I personally like to use carrots, onions or scallions, tomatoes, garlic, laurels and thyme. I then pour a little broth on the dish.
I add a little cognac too…
… and a first serving of white or red wine. Then the dish goes into the oven for 7 hours. It could be 5 hours one day and 2 hours the following day; there are no rules. Imagine : this dish is cooked in a tradition French home in the south of France when people are more interested in a pétanque game rather than monitoring lunch or dinner in the oven.
However, I would advise you to regularly pour some wine on the food in the oven. You should have used the entire bottle, if not 1,5 bottle of wine.
Some people like to serve this dish with potatoes. I am Asian so I like rice better. You can find absolutely wonderful food pictures of this dish on the net ; mine is a little too homely but meh!