IMBB23: Gigot a la Bordelaise

Posted on February 26, 2006 by Aun

This month’s theme for Is My Blog Burning? is “French regional cuisine and a glass of wine”. It’s hosted by the marvelously talented Laura of Cucina Testa Rossa, who, as you might guess, has the great and enviable fortune of living in France.

For this month’s challenge, S and I dipped into a book we’ve owned for quite a while but hadn’t actually cooked from before. Paula Wolfert’s The Cooking of Southwest France is an excellent compendium of delicious regional recipes. Inspired by a gorgeous, fresh leg of lamb that we picked up at our favorite market, we decided to try making Ms Wolfert’s Roast Leg of Lamb in the Style of Bordeaux (Gigot a la Bordelaise).

From what I gather, lamb’s been a traditional meat, ceremonially eaten at Easter, in Bordeaux and other parts of France for centuries. Pairing wine with lamb is also classic. So, choosing lamb for this month’s challenge was sort of a no-brainer.

Ms Wolfert’s recipe incorporates vinegar and shallots, both in the cooking process and then as the basis for a sauce. While I was hesitant about this at first, the vinegar-based sauce was perfect. It’s tartness cut through the meatiness of the lamb as well as lifted the dish, adding a new and delicious dimension to it.

To go with the lamb, we polished off a prized bottle of Quintarelli Valpolicella, pictured above. I’d picked this up on my last trip to Venice (along with the other edible goodies in the photo). For the uninitiated, Quintarelli is one of Italy’s most-respected cult wine labels. Its Amarone is second to none, almost impossible to find, and ridiculously costly. Its Valpolicella is almost as hard to find, a tad bit cheaper, but equally stunning–robust, fruity, and powerful. It was the perfect wine to pair with our lamb.

Gigot a la Bordelaise
(serves 6)

1 whole leg of lamb
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and cut into thin slivers
1 teaspoon course salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons rendered duck or goose fat
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
3/4 cup unsalted chicken stock

Trim off excess fat and tough outer skin from the lamb, leaving a thin layer of fat. Make about 10 incisions near the leg bone and insert garlic slivers. Rub the meat with salt and pepper, then coat with the fat and oil. Massage into the meat. Refrigerate, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for at least 3 hours or overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 2 to 3 hours before roasting.

About 2 hours before serving, preheat the oven to 500ºF. Place the lamb on a rack in a large roasting pan. Set the pan in the top third of the oven and roast for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the lamb rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF.

Meanwhile, in a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the vinegar and shallots; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 20 minutes. Strain, reserving the shallots and vinegar separately.

Pour the vinegar and 1/2 cup water into the roasting pan. Return the lamb and roast, basting with the pan juices every 5 minutes, for 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 135º to 140ºF for medium-rare.

Remove the lamb to a carving board and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the shallot sauce: Add the stock and reserved shallots to the drippings in the roasting pan and bring to a boil on top of the stove, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Slice the lamb and serve with the shallot sauce.

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About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. Nicholas February 26, 2006 at 2:47 am

    That is a great looking piece of lamb eh! Did you and S polished off the entire leg of lamb and that bottle of wonderful wine? Or were there great company too?

    Oh, where did you manage to score yourself duck fat or goose fat? I’ve been looking all around Singapore for it without much avail.

  2. joey February 26, 2006 at 8:33 am

    That lamb looks fantastic! With wine and goose fat…I need no more convincing :)

  3. Chubby Hubby February 26, 2006 at 11:03 am

    Nicholas: Hiya, actually two friends helped us eat the lamb. As greedy as S and I are, we couldn’t have consumed the whole thing ourselves :-) Sebastian’s Gourmet used to have jars and cans of duck fat. We still have a stash from then. I think Carrefour carries it as well.

    Joey: Cheers!

  4. MM February 26, 2006 at 1:02 pm

    Magnificent! I’m drooling so much I am lost for words.

  5. Matt Armendariz February 27, 2006 at 12:10 am

    It’s these types of recipes that I adore creating. To me they just convey simple flavors without being too fussy… good old fashioned “soul food”, if you will. It also reminds me of my mom making lamb at Easter.

    And I can just taste the vinegar and the lamb right now!

    Thank you for sharing!

    And the photo is just absolutely beautiful and striking, wow wow wow. Beautiful surface!

  6. Monkey Gland March 1, 2006 at 5:45 am

    Now, that is a pretty piece of meat. Good work fella!

  7. tanya May 14, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    I heard that to make good roast (even for potatoes) , apply goose fat.

    anyways, great post ! i like your blog coz u give every details, which shld not be missed out .

    can you advise me on roasting pan? In da abvoe post, it looks gr8 along with lamb. i waanaa buy one.

    in tangs,some roasting pans on sale, (brand don’t noe).

    Thanks in advance!

  8. S May 15, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Hi Tanya

    The roasting pan pictured is from Calphalon (available through Razorsharp). But I have to warn you that it is larger than normal. I bought it to fit into our 90cm oven. If you have a regular 60cm oven, this won’t fit into it. Our other heavy duty roasting pan is a Bourgeat one which we bought at Lau Choy Seng. Love that it is truly heavy and doesn’t warp.

    Pantry Magic has a good selection of roasting pans. I like them because their handles are like the Calphalon one, they don’t flip down (I find that the ones that flip down a real pain to handle when I’m wearing oven mitts).

  9. tanya May 15, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    Hi S,

    Thanks a llot for qk reply.

    Besides, URs busy schedule, U & CH tries to solve any querries, thats really gr8!

    bcoz of this blog, i tries to spend more of my time in my kittchen.haa haa haa

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