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)

custard-apple's picture

I'm cooking this tonight for 3 hours. When I reheat tomorrow what temperature should it cook at?

tina27a's picture

I made this today for our Easter Sunday dinner and my husband said its the best lamb he's had. It turned out so tender .I cooked it last night and reheated today for the 45mins and it was lovely. I didn't bother with the red wine,just used a lamb stock cube and 2 onions and I also added a couple of cloves of garlic. I'll be doing my lamb like this in future

allielovetocook's picture

This is the only way I cook Lamb now and is such a simple recipe and with so little waste. I never use the Red Wine though as I think it's too strong a flavour for a lovely tasting meat like Lamb - I just use Lamb stock (from a cube). The juices can be thickened with cornflour and the Lamb perfectly reheats in the tasty gravy if you want to make it one day and actually eat it the next day. I have also added carrots to the onions at the bottom of the tin and it all goes in the gravy and gets blitzed down with a hand blender. So tasty.

justhorses's picture

Delicious and so simple. I made this for a dinner party and everybody absolutely loved it. I didn't have any red wine so substituted that for port and stock instead which work beautifully.
Gravy needed reducing down a tad.

davandsar3's picture

Have used this recipe with mutton and lamb both really tasty.

SueChef1's picture

Excellent - don't understand the few criticisms about the sauce being too runny - I followed the recipe to the letter and if anything found that there was only just enough sauce. Perhaps the reports of 'fatty' sauce say more about the meat?? Easy, tasty, tender, and it cooks away whilst you're doing other things. My kind of meal.

Bigspottedcat's picture

Too Fatty I am afraid. I was not able to get the fat off, even after leaving the meat to rest overnight.

Anniepie29's picture

I made this for an Easter Passover Seder and it was absolutely delicious! I followed the recipe "almost", except that I used two crock pots (was making food for 16 people.... I did a shoulder in one pot and a leg in the other), making it on Saturday and then reheating on Sunday. I cut the number of onions in half (two sliced onions per crock pot instead of 4 each). It cooked in the crock pot for almost 8 hours and the meat was falling off the bone tender. Overnight, I had all of the meat stored in one container and the juice in another. The next day, all of the fat had congealed at the top, so I was able to get rid of all that fat! I set aside about 1/3 of the juice/onions, and put the meat and remaining juices back in one crock pot to reheat for the meal. Using a juicer/blender, I blended the set aside juice and onions along with about 1/4 cup of black currant jam... then poured this over all that was in the crock pot. Finished off with the thyme and parsley as suggested. It got very high reviews from the guests!!

Ladro's picture

Was this cooked on low or high setting. I would love to try this but have only just bought my crock pot and am a bit nervous about using it. Sounds like a fab recipe.

j_ldavisuk's picture

This has become a firm family favourite since first making this 4 years ago. I normally use a third of the wine and the rest water. Last year I started adding a little redcurrant jelly to the gravy and everybody has said it tastes even better.

lizleicester's picture

Easy peasy recipe. Put it in the slow cooker and ignored it for 6 hours the day before I needed it. Then popped it in the oven for 45 mins before serving it. 1kg onions was not just 4 - I needed 11 to get a kilo and could have had less although they did thicken the red wine and lamb juices to a delicious sauce.

jesz1987's picture

Did this, 200ml Red wine, 100ml Lamb stock. Cut up Garlic, rosemary, mint and parsley mixed with olive oil rubbed lamb all over browned off well and put in slow cooker on low setting for 8 hours. Used half a leg about 1.6kg in weight and the dish was perfect. Used thickening granules at the end to get a lovely thick gravy. Well recommended.

meldenning1971's picture

Really very tasty! I added some garlic and cooked for half hour longer (large leg of lamb on the bone). Would definitely recommend! The gravy was delicious but I did add a bit of flour to thicken.

Hazel's Recipes's picture

Had family for Sunday lunch clean plates all round,like other's I thickened sauce with flour and added a lamb stock cube, will deffo use again .

Lover of Food's picture

Great recipe, I am a male who likes to dabble in cooking a meal for my Wife and friends and this easy to cook meal goes down so well with all that there is nothing left in the pot.
I have now done this recipe 4 times and the only adjustment I have made is to add a little water to the gravy when reheating.

greengourmet's picture

I add a tin of haricot beans for the last 30 minutes - it gives extra flavour and also thickens the sauce; haricot and lamb are a winning combination and it's all very easy - just finishing off the cooking time now - so hungry.

loopyleicester's picture

made this, was very nice, used a leg of lamb boneless cooked it slowly for hours! i would say add thickening as its runny, i added herbs and spices and a cube, hubby loved it, will be making again!!

hiyamod's picture

Just Amnazing .. simply and so so so yummy!! use a good meet it will be worth it.

carenscookin's picture

This is always a hit with my guests, i always use a leg of lamb. I add some lamb stock for extra flavour. When the lamb is cooked I take it out and let it rest then take it off the bone, shred it and add it back to the pan and let my guests help themselves. I serve it with roast potatoes and seasonal veg, fab!

townsends's picture

This is one of my favourites for a delicious and simple dinner party meal! Always goes down well and never fails even for someone who is not particularly great at following recipes!


Questions (3)

nadjarossine's picture

I'd like to try cooking this recipe for a crowd, but I'm not sure of what to serve it with. I've been using a lot of potatoes (in many ways), couscous or rice (as for carbs) with sautéed green veg (1 of 5 a day), so what would you suggest outside that box to go with this lamb? Also, do you think that a quinoa tabuleh salad beforehand (starter) is a good call? Many many thanks

flewis's picture

I'm a but confused about the dishes required to make this lamb. What kind of dish do you fry it in? A large wok or do you need one of those really deep saucepans? Then for the oven cooking do you need a casserole dish with a fitted lid or will foil be ok? Any help gratefully received - dinner party on Saturday! :)

goodfoodteam's picture

Make the dish in a deep pan that is suitable for the oven too, then you can just use one pan, if the pan has a lid then cover with this if not cover tightly with foil, thanks.

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