Louis and Hardy say: “Sometimes, when we want to cook for a group of friends but don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen, we order the bottom half of a lamb from our butcher – it still has both legs attached.”
1 double leg of lamb or two individual legs of lamb
For the seasoning
¼ cup (60 ml) coarse salt
¼ cup (60 ml) freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup (60 ml) finely chopped garlic
¼ cup (60 ml) finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus sprigs for garnishing
¼ cup (60 ml) Dijon mustard
¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups (500 ml) lamb stock or water
For the sauce
1 cup (250 ml) dry red wine
1 litre stock from the oven dish
2 tablespoons (30 ml) cornflour
For the gremolata
grated or finely chopped peel of 4 lemons
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
a handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
Remove most of the fat from the leg of lamb, but not all of it, as it lends delicious flavour to the sauce.
With a sharp knife, make small incisions about 1 cm long and 2 cm deep all over the legs. Make the seasoning by mixing the salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary and mustard. Rub it into the meat, particularly into the incisions, and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 200°C.
Place the legs in a large, deep oven dish. Combine the olive oil and lamb stock and pour over the meat. Roast uncovered for 20-30 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 160°C. Cover with a lid or seal it tightly with foil. Roast for approximately another 90 minutes. Test the meat by inserting a meat thermometer close to the bone – it is done when the temperature is 60°C, as the flesh will still be beautifully pink.
Pour some of the pan juices over the meat, place it on a rack (so that the meat doesn’t lie in the liquid), and roast in a hot oven (200°C) for 5-7 minutes to form a lovely crispy crust. Turn off the oven and pour all the liquid out of the oven dish, but let the meat rest in the oven while you make the sauce.
Heat the wine and three cups (750 ml) of the stock over a low heat and boil it to let the alcohol evaporate. Stir the cornflour into the remaining cup (250 ml) of stock, stir it into the rest and cook the sauce until thickened.
Combine all the gremolata ingredients. Serve the meat with the gremolata sprinkled on top and the thickened pan juices in a separate jug.
Soak two handfuls of half-dried prunes in brandy overnight and add to the liquid in the oven dish about 40 minutes before you plan to remove the meat from the oven and serve it.
Michael’s Wine Recommendation – CLICK HERE
In the kitchen at La Creuzette
there is a precious larder cupboard
filled with things like batteries and bottles
and everything you might want
Tea, coffee and chocolate
and bottles and bottles of jam:
Blackberry, cherry and currant.
Poem by the Countess Renaud Saint Gal de Pons’s granddaughter Beatrice, daughter of Isabelle.
It took 15 years for Louis Janse van Vuuren and Hardy Olivier to restore the impressive Château de la Creuzette to her former glory. She continues to rest in her shaded park, surrounded by centuries-old trees, and welcomes her expectant guests with open arms.
The highly successful Festive France caused great excitement among Francophiles, who loved the stories and delicious recipes from the French countryside. Now, the wealth of culinary delights that emerge from the new summer kitchen at La Creuzette are enough to make any gourmand’s mouth water. Apart from the almost 90 new recipes, which the authors have categorised according to five (yes, five!) seasons, there is an additional Crookbook in which the two hosts share their easy shortcut recipes and tips – how to conjure and connive when immediate action is needed. Here, every meal is transformed into a feast. Take a seat a beautifully set table and drink from fine crystal.
Beautifully photographed at La Creuzette by Hein van Tonder and Francois Pistorius.
The Story of a House is not only two cookbooks in one, but also a richly adorned reading book that traces the history of a manor house and follows the story of its people. Come inside, the doors are open…
The Story of a House is published by Quivertree Publications