Seven hour leg of lamb with anchovy and garlic

I have been wanting to make this dish for a long time and I may have the opportunity later this week.

When someone at work has a birthday, on the Friday of the birthday week Springload shouts that person a ‘hot lunch’. It’s a great opportunity to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and to eat a meal together, and often to share insights from lives well lived. Usually it’s an assortment of takeaways – pizza, or Burger Fuel, or even McDonalds.

This week it’s Peter’s turn and he expressed an interest in cooking a leg of lamb in the roof top house that serves as our common room.

I’m trying to persuade Peter that he should cook this recipe, even though it means he’ll need to be turning the oven on at about 6.00 am to feed us all by 1.00pm. Still, I reckon it’d be worth the effort and I’ll be happy to help!

The recipe comes from Stephanie Alexanders wonderful cookbook, The Cooks Companion.


  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 2kg leg of lamb, frenched (I think this is with the knuckle off the end of it – it also makes it small enough to fit inside a roasting dish)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • pepper and salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 200g piece of pork rind with 5 mm of fat attached
  • 2 bouquet garni (including a small piece of celery)
  • 1 cup of full flavoured veal or chicken stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine


Preheat your oven to 120ºC.

You need an oval shaped enameled cast iron casserole dish, or similar.

Dry the anchovy fillets on kitchen paper and cut each into three pieces. With the tip of a sharp knife make six deep incisions into each side of the lamb. Insert one piece of anchovy and a sliver of garlic into each incision. Grind pepper over the lamb and rub it completely with salt.

Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan and seal the lamb on all sides until it is a rich golden brown. Put pork rind in the roasting dish with the fat side down. Add the bouquet garni and lamb, then pour in the stock and wine.

Secure the lid. You need to ensure that no air can escape so if the roasting dish lid doesn’t fit well mix flour and water to a thick paste and ‘glue’ the lid on. Put the dish on a baking tray and transfer to the oven.

Leave it alone for 7 hours, then crack the top and enjoy!

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