Boiled Leg of Lamb with Caper Sauce


serves 6
1.8 kg (4 lb) leg of lamb, shank bone removed
salt and ground black pepper
boiling water
1 bouquet garni
1 bay leaf
1 Spanish onion, quartered and stuck with 4 cloves
150 ml (5 fl oz) chicken stock
25 g (1 oz) butter
24 small carrots
24 button onions
15 ml (1 tbsp) finely chopped parsley

for the caper sauce

40 g (1 1/2 oz) butter
45 ml (3 tbsp) flour
1 large egg yolk
75 ml (5 tbsp) thick cream
15 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice
30 ml (2 tbsp) capers, drained


1. Trim most of the fat from the leg of lamb. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper and wrap tightly in a piece of muslin, securing with string. Let it stand for 2 hours to come to room temperature.

2. Place the lamb in a large, deep, flameproof casserole or heavy saucepan and cover with boiling salted water. Boil for 10 minutes. Skim the surface and reduce to simmering. Add the bouquet garni, bay leaf and onion, cover and cook for 2 hours or until the meat is cooked but still a little pink in the centre.

3. Meanwhile, pour the chicken stock into a saucepan. Add the butter, carrots and button onions and simmer over a moderate heat for 10 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the parsley, season to taste and keep warm.

4. Drain the lamb. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve. Remove the muslin and put the meat on a heated platter. Keep warm.

5. To make the caper sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan. Blend in the flour and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly, until a pale roux forms. Pour 600 ml (1 pt) reserved liquid onto the roux and beat vigorously with a whisk. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat.

6. In a bowl, blend the egg yolk, thick cream and lemon juice. Pour a little sauce on to this mixture and blend. Return to the pan, stirring, and cook over a low heat for 1 - 2 minutes. Do not allow the sauce to come to the boil or it will curdle. Season to taste and stir in the drained capers.

7. Pour a little caper sauce over the lamb and arrange the vegetables on the platter. Serve the remaining sauce separately.

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