Gigot d'agneau à l'ail

Roast leg of lamb with garlic

Roast leg of lamb with garlic

Though this recipe is actually from the Périgord region, it comes highly recommended by Becky Wasserman Hone (a long-standing friend of The Wine Society who lives in Burgundy) who claims it makes pinot noir 'sing' and is superb with red Burgundies of all ages, from the old and frail to the young and vigorous.

Don't be alarmed by the quantity of garlic. The cloves are not crushed so they do not release any of their strong, bitter oils and they are discarded at the end of cooking.

We've tried it and it really works!


  • Leg of lamb
  • 70 peeled cloves of garlic
  • 1 small glass of Cognac, Armagnac or any other spirit (to 'flambé' the beast)
  • 2 glasses of sweet white wine, such as Sauternes or Monbazillac
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Goose fat or olive oil
  • Large heavy casserole with lid


Cover lamb with boiling water and boil for 15 minutes. Take out the lamb and pat dry. Throw away the water (boiling takes away much of the fat). Brown lamb on all sides in goose fat or olive oil. Pour a small glass of Cognac or any other spirit over the lamb, set aflame and wait until the fire goes out. Put the cloves of garlic into the casserole with two glasses of good sweet wine and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for about four hours over a low heat.

When cooked, the lamb will be tender enough to eat with a spoon. The garlic cloves do not fall apart and can easily be discarded.

Serve with mashed potato and roasted root vegetables.

Serves 6 to 8 depending on size of joint.

Optional: make a sauce with the left over juices; skim off excess fat first.

This recipe originally appeared in SocietyNews February 2000

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