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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Provençal Style Leg of Lamb with Potato and Courgette Gratin

You may have seen this recipe before in this blog but it has been a while and it is such a great winter dish that I think it is worth repeating. The lamb recipe is taken from Cuisine magazine issue 117, with a few minor changes. The Cuisine recipe does not include stuffing the lamb. In the magazine the accompanying gratin recipe is for a courgette gratin. We made a courgette and potato gratin loosely based on the Cuisine recipe. The recipes below will serve 4-6.

1 boned leg of lamb
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of olive oil
6 sundried tomatoes, soaked in boiling water to rehydrate and then chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bulb of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
2 large tomatoes, skinned, seeded and quartered
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
300ml of dry white wine (we used Montana Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc)
1/2 a cup of baby niçoise olives (we just used black olives)
2-3 anchovies, chopped (we used 6)

1 tablespoon each of chopped parsley and chives
1 tin of artichoke hearts, bases removed
35g of pine nuts
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon of oil

600g of small courgettes
1.3 kg of potatoes
60g of butter plus some extra to dot the surface
1 large onion finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons of flour
350ml of milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4 tablespoons of finely chopped flat leafed parsley
1/4 of a cup each of grated gruyere and parmesan cheese
1/2 a cup of fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 of a cup of white wine

Preheat the oven to 180C. Whiz the stuffing ingredients together in a food processor. Stuff the lamb and tie with kitchen twine. Rub the lamb leg with olive oil (we used a lemon infused olive oil) and season very generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper (lots of pepper). Heat the olive oil in a large heavy casserole on a hot oven element and brown the lamb well all over.
Add the chopped onion and continue to cook, stirring until golden. Add the garlic, tomatoes, thyme and half the wine and bring to a gentle simmer.
Place the casserole in the oven and cook for two hours, taking out occasionally to turn the lamb and ensure that the liquid has not evaporated. Add more wine during cooking if necessary. Add the olives and anchovies after one hour.
When ready take the lamb out of the casserole, carve and serve. Pour some of the sauce over the meat, we placed extra sauce on the side in ramekins.

Peel the potatoes and top and tail the courgettes. Slice the potatoes and courgettes lengthwise.
Parboil the potato slices briefly and then leave them to cool. Arrange the courgette and potato slices in neat overlapping rows in an large ovenproof dish. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the chopped onion and cook until soft and golden. Add the flour and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the milk and stir until the milk comes to the boil. Add the wine, turn the heat down and simmer over a low heat until the sauce thickens. Season the sauce, add the parsley and pour the sauce over the potatoes and courgettes. Mix the cheese with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the surface adding a few dots of butter as you go.
Bake for 35-40 minutes at 180C until golden brown. Serve with the lamb.


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