Slow-cooked lamb with onions & thyme

Slow-cooked lamb with onions & thyme

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(95 ratings)

Ready in 3.5 hours


Serves 4
Five ingredients, one pot, no effort. This meltingly tender lamb dish is satisfyingly rich, and virtually cooks itself

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal731
  • fat39g
  • saturates19g
  • carbs21g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre4g
  • protein63g
  • salt0.87g
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  • half a leg of lamb (about 1¼kg/2lb 12oz)



    A lamb is a sheep that is under one year old, and is known for its delicate flavour and tender…

  • 1kg onion (about 4 large ones)



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • handful of thyme sprigs


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 300ml red wine
  • large handful parsley



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…


  1. Firstly, prepare the lamb. Heat oven to 160C/fan140C/gas 3. Wipe the meat all over and season well. Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large heavy flameproof casserole, add the meat and fry all over on a fairly high heat for about 8 mins, turning until it is evenly well browned. Remove to a plate.

  2. Thinly slice the onions. Add to the pan and fry for about 10 mins, until softened and tinged with brown. Add a few of the thyme sprigs and cook for a further minute or so. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Sit the lamb on top of the onions, then add the wine. Cover tightly. Bake for 3 hrs. You can make to this stage up to 2 days in advance, then reheat for 45 mins.

  4. To finish off, strip the leaves from 2 thyme sprigs and chop them with the parsley. Scatter over before serving.

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Comments (127)

cadewet's picture

Devine! I have made this many times now. I think the thyme is a must, but I will try it with rosemary soon. I think the secret to making it really taste and look good is to brown the meat and onions very well in the beginning. For reheating it should be taken out of the fridge long before the time so it has time to come to room temperature before going into the oven, also reheating should be at a higher temperature, probably about 190.

lindenfaerie's picture

For once I was able to join the family for a Sunday morning walk as this dish could be left to cook. We were greeted by a delicious aroma on our return and although I made enough for 10 hoping to freeze a portion or two, 7 of us polished it off! A wonderful flavoursome dish which will be repeated often.

annieevans's picture

Having discovered this is a Mary Cadogan recipe, I was not surprised that it was easy and delicious. The flavours of thyme, onion and red wine were a wonderful combination. I carved the lamb and served it on a bed of the onion gravy, with a dish of haricot beans with tomatoes, garlic and shallots. I was also lucky enough to have some left over to make an equally delicious shepherd's pie.

zoe1588's picture

Beautiful. I've done this with a whole leg and also just the shank. The meat is so tender, it virtually falls off the bone. I prefer this way of cooking lamb now for sunday lunch rather than just straight forward normal roasting, the flavour and tenderess is well worth the wait!

jennakeane's picture

Absolutly fabulous! My 1 and 3 year old children gobbled it up. I have never eaten such tender lamb.

k9todd's picture

Cooked two boned legs of lamb for a dinner party for twelve people. Had to use two casseroles and a bottle of wine in each of them. Cooked both for over 5 hours but left enough time to cut and reheat before my guests arrived. Tasted absolutely fantastic. A really easy, safe and tasty meal - but not cheap! Would do again and perhaps add more vegetables for a change.

deerussell's picture

Definitely a winner and I don't even like lamb!
All the family gobbled this one up with roast tatties, roast carrot and parsnip and a bit of broccoli on the side.

kartibok's picture

Wonderful dish, simple with very few ingredients.

We cooked a meal for just two but all the portions were halved. We used a small bottle of Claret but left it in for about 4.5 hours in a slow crock pot cooker.

Will definitely do again.


kipperelli's picture

flipping lovely! did it with lamb shoulder (though trimmed some of the fat off) and it was delicious. Agree with the comment about it not looking appetising it looked purply reddish but added a drop of gravy browning and it was rich and gorgeous looking. Will definitely do this again

sineadclerkin's picture

Did all of the cooking the day before then reheated as per the recipe.... disaster.... was still stone cold when i attempted to carve... guests had to wait another 1.5 hours for dinner, still wasn't piping hot... very embarrassing!!

f1madxxx's picture

This was amazing the lamb fell off the bone, and was very tasty. I used Rosemary instead of thyme too.

ClaireC by the Sea's picture

Absolutely delicious! Recipe worked a treat! Although...I did have two legs of supermarket boneless leg of lamb and one bone in leg (I was curious to see how the different joints would turn out and was stuffed full with lamb over the easter weekend...what a tragedy!!) and the difference between the two joints with the same recipe...unblelievable! So...bone in legs of lamb every time from now on! So much more tender...melt in the mouth.

I did add some carrots, garlic and celery aswell as the onion at the initial stage to get a more varied flavour as thought the sauce might be a little to onion-y.

I also thickened it at the end and might even run some mint and redcurrant sauce through next time for a variation on the sauce.

Will only do lamb this way from now on and can't wait to do it again!

recanati's picture

Sorry not a favourite for me - the meat tasted good but not appealing to look at - I did thicken the sauce and I added two garlic cloves - I served it with creamed potatoe and green beans.

louisehowe's picture

I also cooked this on Easter sunday very simple and delicious.

kickingkatie's picture

I cooked this on Easter sunday using may 30 year old slow cooker and it came out perfectly - such a good way to cook lamb. perfect. served with roast potatoes, and veg

sandien's picture

Cooked this recipe on sunday in my slow cooker the lamb
was really tender. thickend the sauce up at the end of cooking
it was really tasty. Served it with crispy roast potatoes and

ghensler's picture

was really nice. when went shopping couldnt remember which herb so in the end bought rosemary safe option (knew it wasnt that!) anyway it was delicious also added fresh carrots with tops on in the roasting pot. Had a smaller joint of lamb and was boneless (although added the same amout of wine). The meat was delicious and tender but couldnt tell it was lamb kind of lost the taste of the lamb with the wine. Would I cook it again probably not but it was delicious and thoroughly enjoyed it. Reason i wouldnt cook it again couldnt taste the lamb - however it was very tasty and the meat was very tender.

wippypippy's picture

never cooked lamb before but this was delicious
I added some crushed cloves of garlic and a sprinkling of plain flour through the softened onions as other comments had said the sauce needed to be a bit thicker and this was a delicious rich sauce -it was a real hit and one of the best meals I have cooked.
The sauce was yummy and just the right thickness.
I served with roast potatoes and veg will definitly do again as people will think you have slaved over this for hours when in reality it is the oven that does all the work!!

feediddlydee's picture

this is delicious-put in oven on timer and went for a long walk with the dog-came home to the most divine aromas-used 200ml of port with rosemary and 100ml lamb stock-was sweeter than recipe as had called for red wine but went well with the flavors of the lamb.

princessdaisy's picture

Lovely simple recipe, used a large leg of lamb and roasted for about 5 hours in all. Firm favourite with everyone. Served with roasted veg and cauliflower. Leftovers were moist and flavoursome next day.


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