This is kind of a double-layered post. It’s about braising, but only after roasting.
It starts with a roasted leg of lamb, cooked rare, as it should, with a nice coating of herbs, spices and olive oil, with a crispy outside and moist inside.
It continues with the leftover meat, which is a pain to reheat in a satisfactory way. Like roast beef, the roast leg of lamb can be eaten pleasantly as a cold cut, but reheating it will make the meat either gray or dry – or both.
Hence this “oignonnée”, an excessively simple braised lamb I discovered in Les Pinardises, a collection of cooking columns published over 15 years ago by one of Quebec’s most enthusiastic gourmets, Daniel Pinard. It’s really, really simple.
You slice a bunch of onions. You put a layer at the bottom of a dutch oven or baking dish. You set the lamb meat, cut into chunks, over the onions. Then you put another layer of onions on top. You can put the bones in, over the layers, if you want – it’s good for the flavors and the sauce. You pour red wine in the dish, a little less than you’d need to cover. And you put the dish, covered, in the oven at 225-250`F, for at least three hours.
Serve over pasta (preferably, egg noodles), and enjoy the moist, tasty, lamb. We served it over spätle, the German egg noodles, which are thicker and give the whole dish a fuller texture.
You can, of course, do a bit more if you want. I melted the sliced onions in butter, to give them a bit more flavour and texture. And I put a couple of spoonfuls of parsley between the meat and the top layer of onions. Also, I uncovered the dutch oven in the last half hour, to help the sauce concentrate and to give a little caramelized touch to the meal. Don’t turn the heat up, however, or you’ll dry the meat – which is exactly what this recipe seeks to avoid.
The sauce itself can make for a pleasantly different pasta dish. If your leftovers lead to more leftovers.