a very well turned leg…


Among the many things with which I am familiar but, on closer examination, about which I know next to nothing, is the Bible. I undoubtedly absorbed more from Cecil.B,DeMille’s version of Biblical events than I did from the hours of instruction, through which I day dreamed, by raw boned Jesuits who were determined by hook or by beating to inculcate into me the cant and dogma that made their own lives so very miserable. However, I do remember plenty of interesting culinary tidbits from the good book. I’m sure there was a mistake in the ingredient list of loaves and fishes as I think that the amount mentioned would only feed 6-8….well worth remembering should you have invited 5,000 or so to come round for a bite. Chocolate seems to have been missed out completely in the chapter about Easter but they do mention a  very French sounding Pascal the lamb….God alone knows how many he was meant to have fed, but it’s probably as exaggerated as the loaves and fishes episode. Here in France, where State takes precedence over religion, they’ve changed Pascal’s name to Gigot…well, they named his back leg Gigot…and that’s what I cooked on Chocolate Sunday ( sometimes spelled with an “e”) to celebrate the rabbit that was born from an egg.

Gigot and English Roast Leg of Lamb are, biologically, one and same thing and there the similarity ends. There is no “well done” gigot, nor is there the need to serve it with mint sauce and redcurrant jelly or with a selection of 4 or 5 different vegetables. The “pile it high” concept of Sunday lunch is not the way of Gigot. The following recipe from Stéphane Reynaud’s “Ripaille” would be a very good introduction to those who have not eaten Gigot as it should be…the beans are a magical combination. I often use haricots cooked in goose fat which work quite as well.


Today I have been eating leftover cold lamb on warm chunks of baguette which is another thing altogether and which I should blog about on another occasion.

About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
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40 Responses to a very well turned leg…

  1. Angeline M says:

    Perfect! Definitely no mint sauce for my lamb. You seem to have turned out quite well in spite of the raw boned Jesuits; theirs must have been a miserable life, along with the Ursuline nuns who made my formative years rather miserable. But what’s past is past, and I shall toast to that with a glass of Pauillac.

  2. Mad Dog says:

    I went to an Easter Sunday lunch with about 16 people for lamb some years ago and our host tried the Jesus trick with a tiny lamb shoulder. Needless to say we got a lot of roast potatoes and vegetables with gravy. Evidently the Jesuits must have had a hand in this!
    I did try a recipe which involved slow cooking lamb with butter beans for a few hours (a while ago), but I prefer it pink and not falling off the bone. You’ve got the right idea – cook the beans separately 😉

  3. I love my lamb any way (apart from dried out!) slow cooked or pink – but this looks absolutement parfait!

  4. Looks like it was the perfect Sunday lunch.

  5. catterel says:

    You used thyme and garlic – delicious – but no rosemary?

  6. thomas peck says:

    I love gigot too, but I’m going to break a lance for mint sauce. It’s delicious with lamb. Pas de question!

  7. Eha says:

    Gigot over roast leg of lamb any day: have made it with the white beans but not used as interesting a recipe which does not say ‘rosemary’ anywhere 🙂 ! Now to decide whether my purse will take the cost of the muscat naturally not in the house!!

  8. I wish I liked lamb. I’ve never really developed a taste for it. Tried again two nights ago at a James Beard awarded place in New Orleans. Still no go.

    • I don’t eat red meat that often, in fact, very rarely. I also enjoy the lamb that I cook myself more than any that I have eaten in restaurants….so often a disappointment and sometimes quite unpleasant. I tend to use simple New Zealand legs of lamb which are hard to better.

  9. Michelle says:

    A gorgeous leg indeed. The Jesuits may be spinning, but I like your interpretation. 😉

  10. Francesca says:

    As the Jesuit saying goes, “Give me the child for his first seven years, and I’ll give you the man’. Either they got you too late,or like me, indoctrinated with the same nonsense by their female counterparts, Ignatian Nuns, you threw it all out as soon as you could, and haven’t stopped saying ‘Fuck’ ever since. They are, however, noted for hospitality, when not doing nasty things to young minds or bodies, and good wine drinking traditions emanate from this branch of Catholicism.
    The leg looks handsome and I can imagine that the simple side dishes would do it justice too,

    • So right about the Jesuits. I remember being told that if you want to find a Jesuit, look in the Royal Box at Opera House or under the awning of a big yacht….their vow of poverty clearly permitted the enjoyment of the wealth of others:)

  11. Ha. I just made slow roasted lamb shoulder with white beans and tomato last night. I fricking love lamb and beans 😜

  12. I’m partial to legs… And shoulders. This looks fantastic, Roger!

  13. authorrani says:

    Discover my mouth-watering Royal Lucknow Style Leg of Lamb (Lucknavi Raan Musallam) in Editor’s Choice India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine.

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