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April 26, 2024

Braised American Lamb Leg with Leeks Multiple Ways


Recipe Provided By
Chef Joel Stocks


Plated Braised American Leg of Lamb


  • 1 American Lamb Leg (about 4-5 lbs), bone-in
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2  tablespoons fresh thyme, leaves only
  • peels from 2 lemons (use a vegetable peeler to create large strips)
  • 1 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken or lamb stock
  • 2 bay leaves


Pat the lamb dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt, black pepper, chopped rosemary, and thyme leaves. Rub the seasonings all over the lamb to coat evenly.

In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the lamb leg and sear on all sides until browned, about 3-4 minutes per side.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic and onions to the pot around the lamb. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Add the lemon peels and olives, stirring to combine.

Pour in the white wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.

Add the chicken or lamb stock and bay leaves to the pot. The liquid should come up at least halfway up the side of the lamb. Bring to a simmer.

Once simmering, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid or aluminum foil. Transfer to a preheated oven at 325°F (163°C).

Braise for about 2.5 to 3 hours, or until the lamb is very tender and pulls away from the bone easily (if using bone in).

Carefully remove the lamb from the oven and transfer the leg to a serving platter. Let it rest for about 10 minutes.

While the lamb rests, place the pot back on the stove over medium heat and reduce the braising liquid if desired, until it thickens slightly for a more concentrated flavor.

Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

For the Leeks:

Start by trimming off the dark green tops and the root ends of the leeks. Slice them in half lengthwise and rinse thoroughly under cold water to remove any dirt trapped between the layers.

Depending on your recipe or preference, you can leave the leeks in long halves or cut them into shorter lengths.

In a wide, shallow pan, prepare a poaching liquid. This can be as simple as water seasoned with salt, or a more flavorful broth (vegetable or chicken) enhanced with herbs and spices like bay leaves, thyme, and peppercorns.

Place the leeks in the pan, ensuring they are mostly submerged in the liquid. Bring the liquid to a very gentle simmer over medium-low heat.

Cover the pan with a lid or a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside the pan (this is called a cartouche and helps keep the leeks submerged and cooking evenly).

Let the leeks simmer gently until they are tender, which usually takes about 10-15 minutes depending on their size.

The leeks should be tender enough to easily pierce with a knife but not so soft that they begin to fall apart.

Once cooked, carefully lift the leeks from the liquid with a slotted spoon. 

For Assembling and Serving:

Peel the leak so that you have a square sheet of them. Stuff them with the braised lamb and wrap tightly.

Use remaining leek to make a purè by chopping them into very small pieces.

Place the leek purè with some caramelized leek coins on top (optional). Serve a stuffed leek topped with the reduced braising liquid and some leek ash (optional).



USDA recommends the following time and temperature parameters

Ground Lamb

Internal temperature of 160°F

All Other Cuts

Internal temperature of 145°F, with a 3 minute rest

thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.


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