When we’re in France, lamb is our go-to dish. It isn’t that there aren’t lots of other dishes we love to eat but there is something about the way they cook lamb that is unforgettable.
Just outside of Maussane-les-Alpilles in Provence, France, is a restaurant called Aux Ateliers Chez Franck et Flo. They serve a 24-hour lamb dish that is so tender and flavorful you can’t get enough of it. When people come to visit us in Maussane, that is the first place we take them to have 24-hour lamb and we generally go back to have lamb once again before they leave.
The problem is when we get back to the States there is no 24-hour lamb! When you crave something, you find a way to satisfy that craving. Mark was determined to figure out how to make it—and with a little trial and error he did!
Besides the fact that the resulting lamb is incredibly succulent and the flavor is irresistible, it’s super easy to make. What I found hard to believe was that cooking lamb at 160º temperature for 24 hours could result in lamb that is every bit as good as the lamb we eat in France. It is.
Use a boneless leg of lamb or boneless lamb shoulder. If you can’t find it, ask your butcher to remove the bone. Lima beans and potatoes are traditionally served with lamb. Even if you are not a fan of lima beans, give these a try. Cooked this way the beans take on the flavor of the sauce and are transformed into something quite magical.
As an alternative to the fingerling potatoes, you can substitute mashed potatoes.
Since the lamb cooks for such a long time, it releases a lot of liquid. Buy a larger piece of lamb than you think you need. We served 8 lbs to five people thinking there would be leftovers; to my disappointment, there were no leftovers—just five very happy and full people.
The other good thing about this recipe is that you can make it anytime. Lamb doesn’t have to be eaten just in the springtime.
24 Hour Lamb
Serves: 6 to 8
Prep time: 50 minutes
Total time: 24 hours
Preheat oven to 160º
Ingredients4 to 6 lbs boneless lamb shoulder or leg of lamb (The lamb will get smaller as it releases it juices; don’t be afraid to buy more than you think you will need.)
If you do have leftovers, you can use them in a soup, make a lamb potpie, or just reheat them as they are.
How to make the garlic paste.
Garlic paste is a great way to add flavor to any meat, chicken, or fish you are cooking.
Using either a mortar and pestle or the flat side of a knife and a cutting board.
The proportion of garlic to salt, below, is a good guide to use to adjust for the quantity you need. Once you have a paste spread, it on your food.
3 to 6 large cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil
If using a cutting board, smash the garlic with the flat side of a knife.
Discard the papery skin.
Roughly chop the garlic.
Add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.
Using the abrasiveness of the salt and the flat side of your knife, crush the garlic into a paste. Place the paste into a bowl and mix in the olive oil until combined into the paste.
If you want to add herbs, chop them finely and add to the paste and combine until they become emulsified into the paste.
1 teaspoon of fresh herbs
½ teaspoon of dried herbs
If you are using a mortar and pestle, use the pestle to smash the garlic and create the paste. Add the oil directly into the mortar.
Try it, and let me know if you like it as much as I think you will!
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