Slow-cooked lamb with onions & thyme

Slow-cooked lamb with onions & thyme

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(98 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, questions and tips

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6th Mar, 2017
It was easy and absolutely delicious, I will definitely make this again. I added some carrots with the onions and then added some recurrent jelly to the gravy. Next time I will do half stock and half wine.
26th Feb, 2017
I prefer my lamb pink, but my husband (and our visiting family) don't. I therefore decided to give this a go, and was pleasantly surprised! However, I used rosemary rather than thyme, added a couple of chopped garlic cloves to the onions, and only used 500g of onions. I also increased the amount of liquid (25cl wine plus 75cl stock); even so, I needed to add water to the gravy after I'd blitzed the onions. Nonetheless, it was a hit all round (not least the gravy, which needed no additional thickening), and I will definitely make it again.
30th May, 2016
I'm cooking this tonight for 3 hours. When I reheat tomorrow what temperature should it cook at?
27th Mar, 2016
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
22nd Dec, 2015
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.
6th Jun, 2015
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.
22nd Nov, 2014
Have used this recipe with mutton and lamb both really tasty.
15th Nov, 2014
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
1st May, 2014
Too Fatty I am afraid. I was not able to get the fat off, even after leaving the meat to rest overnight.
21st Apr, 2014
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!!


22nd Jun, 2015
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
24th Jul, 2014
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
4th Aug, 2014
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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