Lamb Pot Roast, French Style

Leg of Lamb (Shank) and Lamb Rack

Leg of Lamb (Shank) and Lamb Rack

By Cat, June 2010 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

The French are famous for their delicious slow-cook recipes such as pot roast, and this lamb recipe flavored with Madeira (a fortified Portuguese wine) or Armagnac (a type of brandy) and thyme, is no exception. I don’t keep a lot of different wines/liquors in my kitchen, so I use regular brandy.

Lamb Pot Roast, French Style

I’ve adapted this recipe from (1).

Cooking times in oven are for a bone-in roast. You can use a boneless roast, but it will not generate the healthful gelatin-rich sauce. I provide several options for the broth/stock, but my preference is beef stock diluted with some vegetable broth. If using a bone-in roast, you can use less stock and more veggie broth since the roast’s bones enhance the liquids with nutrients from the bone marrow.

This uses a fairly slow oven at only 250°F and a long (7-hour) cooking time; you can increase that to 275°F to reduce the cooking time if you wish, but the slower the oven, the more tender and flavorful the end result.

The original recipe recommends serving this with Potato Dauphinoise (Potatoes Au Gratin); I make mine with half turnips and half potato.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 5 – 6 lb bone-in leg of lamb (or 3 – 4 lb boneless, rolled & tied)
  • Unrefined sea salt and freshly grated black pepper
  • 4 onions, sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 4 large carrots
  • pinch dried crushed thyme, or leaves from a sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 cup white wine, such as vermouth
  • 1 cup veggie broth, or chicken or beef stock
  • 2 Tbsp Madeira, Armagnac or brandy
  • few sprigs fresh thyme as garnish
  • Equipment
  • Very large stove-top and oven-proof French or Dutch Oven; or large roasting pan
  • Saucier or sauce pan



  1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
  2. Prep veggies: slice onion, peel garlic but leave cloves whole; quarter carrot lengthwise.
  3. Season lamb with salt and pepper.
  4. Sear: Brown on all sides in French/Dutch oven or roasting pan on top of the stove, adding a little olive oil if the meat sticks. This may get a bit smokey, so turn on your kitchen fan.
  5. Remove from heat and drain off part of the fat, if desired.
  6. Add veggies to casserole around the roast, and sprinkle with thyme. Add white wine and broth/stock. Return to heat and bring to a boil.
  7. Remove from heat; cover with lid or foil and transfer to pre-heated oven.
  8. Roast 7 hours, turning twice during this time. After 5 hours, the meat will be falling off the bone.
  9. Transfer meat (minus bone) and veggies to saucier. Bring to boil and continue to boil vigorously until liquids are reduced by ¼. Reduce heat to medium low, adjust seasoning and add Madeira or Armagnac; cook a few minutes longer, to blend flavors. If you want a thicker sauce, mash some of the onion and stir into the reduced sauce. Pour into bowl for serving.
  10. Serve: Garnish platter with sprigs of thyme, and serve. Accompany with Potato Dauphinoise and braised greens or other vegetable.


  1. recipe (

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