James Beard's

READY IN: 7hrs 20mins
Recipe by yooper

Got all day and in the mood to cook? This lamb is cooked for hours in a 200°F oven and the result is lamb so meltingly tender you can eat it with a spoon, hence the name! Taken from James Beard's last cookbook before his death in 1985.

Top Review by JustJanS

We cooked this for dinner last night, and had a terrible time with it. Our (gas) oven went out on the low heat, so we the increased the heat and cooked it for the next 6 hours. When we went to carve it, it was still running VERY red juice, so we then turned the oven up to the temp you would normally cook a roast leg of lamb, and finished it for 1 hour. We had a thermometer in the oven to check temps as the recipe was so specific, and the lamb went into a pre-heated oven initially. I have been in touch with Yooper, and he suggested raising the temp to 300F and reducing the cooking time to 4 hours instead of 6. Or maybe putting it in a crockpot at that stage and cooking it for a further 6-8 hours. That was what we actually thought would be good, but we don't own a crockpot:-) There is also no mention of where the bay leaf and thyme go into the dish, but Yooper said it was step 9 as we had done. I'm not rating this, as we ended up eith nice roast lamb and a tomato sauce, but it wasn't as the recipe would have been had it worked for me.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Rub lamb with salt and pepper and place on a rack in a roasting pan.
  3. Surround with the bones, onions,carrots and 4 to 5 garlic cloves.
  4. Pour the olive oil over the bones and vegetables.
  5. Roast at 400°F for 30 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat to 350°F and roast for 30 minutes.
  7. Reduce heat to 200°F.
  8. Transfer lamb to baking pan or casserole dish.
  9. Add remaining garlic, 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper, tomatoes and bones and vegetables from the roasting pan.
  10. Rinse roasting pan with the red wine and pour wine over lamb.
  11. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast in a 200°F oven for 6 hours.
  12. Transfer lamb to a platter and remove the strings.
  13. Discard bones and bay leaf.
  14. Remove the cloves from the onions and puree or blend all the vegetables.
  15. Combine with the pan juices.
  16. Serve meat and sauce with cooked white beans seasoned with salt and pepper garlic and basil.

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