Seven-Hour Lamb

James Beard

Author and Educator

The combination of a long cooking time and low temperature in this recipe transforms the lamb into pâté-like morsels that fall away from the bone. It is best served with an accompaniment of red kidney beans, lentils, white beans, or coleslaw.


  • 1/2 pound salt pork or fatback
  • 1 leg of lamb, about 6 pounds, boned but not tied
  • 3 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 6 medium onions, sliced
  • 6 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 celery top
  • 1 sprig parsley
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of fennel


To begin, rinse the salt pork, if it is salted. Cut off 2 slices about 1/4-inch thick and dice. Set aside the remainder. Spread out the lamb meat. Make small slits in it, and insert the garlic slivers and pork pieces at intervals. Roll and fasten with skewers, then tie securely. Remove the skewers.

In a large Dutch oven or roasting pan, add the remaining ingredients and the reserved salt pork and bring to a boil. Place the lamb in a pot, cover, and simmer over very low heat or put in a 200ºF oven for seven hours. The meat will reduce to an almost pâté-like consistency and can be served with a spoon and fork, accompanied by the broth, with the fat removed, and vegetables.


8 servings