Serves 6 to 8
- 1 (6-pound) bone-in leg of lamb
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (not extra-virgin)
- 2 lemons, halved
- 1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry white wine
- 2 leeks, white and pale green only, sliced
- 1 head garlic, peeled, about 12 cloves
- 5 bay leaves, preferably fresh
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 springs fresh thyme
- 2½ quarts (12 cups) homemade chicken stock or reduced-fat low-sodium chicken broth, more if needed
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 300°. Rub lamb with oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
Heat a large roasting pan over mediumhigh heat. Add lamb and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. While the lamb is cooking, add the halved lemons as well, and cook, flesh side down. (Alternatively, you can heat the oven to broil, and broil the lamb and lemons, turning occasionally, until the lamb is browned on all sides, about 10 minutes, depending on the strength of your broiler. Then reduce the heat to 300°.)
Once the lamb is browned on all sides, add the wine, leeks, garlic and herbs.
Using tongs, remove the lemons to cool slightly, then squeeze the lemons over the lamb. Add the spent halves to the pan. Tent the lamb with foil. Transfer to the oven and roast, turning the lamb occasionally and making sure the bottom of the pan is moist, not dry, for 3 hours. Uncover, turn lamb, and add 1 quart (4 cups) of chicken stock, stirring to combine with the cooking liquid. Tent lamb, once again, and continue to cook, turning occasionally and adding more of the second quart (4 cups) stock as needed and basting occasionally, until the lamb is very tender, an additional 4 hours. (The cooking liquid will darken over the course of cooking, but the base of the roasting pan should never become dry or burnt. If so, add more of the chicken stock, or even water. Don’t fret—it doesn’t require constant babysitting; just take a peek every hour or so.)
After 7 hours of cooking, transfer the lamb to a warmed platter and tent once again with the foil to keep warm. (By now the lamb is practically falling off the bone.) Place the roasting pan with cooking liquid and vegetables over low heat. Add the remaining 2 cups of chicken stock and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then, reduce the heat to simmer. Let simmer while the lamb rests, about 10 minutes. Strain the cooking liquid, pressing on the solids, through a finemesh sieve into a medium saucepan.
Discard the solids; taste and adjust the jus for seasoning with salt and pepper.
Remove the foil from the lamb and baste with some of the jus. Serve the lamb with the jus on the side.