Lee Hong likes challenging gourmet recipes and making everything from scratch. Here’s his recipe, the ultimate punishment for any oven.


INGREDIENTS (Serves 10 to 12)
2 lamb shoulder roasts, totaling 5 to 6 pounds (see note below)
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 ounces thickly sliced bacon
6 chicken wings, second joints and tips only
2 large onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
10 to 12 sprigs thyme
1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups water or broth
1 cup red wine
arrowroot or potato starch, if needed for thickening gravy


Season the shoulder roasts lightly with salt and pepper. Blanch the bacon in boiling water for 2 minutes and drain it well. Cut it into 1/4-inch pieces. Cut the chicken wings into 2 or 3 pieces each.

1. In a large casserole, arrange bacon and chicken wing pieces around the bottom with the onions, garlic and thyme. Sprinkle with flour. To make the roasts easier to remove, cover onion mixture with a double sheet of cheesecloth. Place shoulder roasts on top, folding the edges of the cheesecloth over them.
2. Mix the tomato paste with the water or broth and pour it into the pot along with the red wine. Tear off a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil and tightly cover the meat with it, turning up the edges so the condensation from the inside of the lid will catch in it rather than dilute the cooking liquid.
3. Cover the pot (weight the lid if possible) and put it in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 275°F and continue cooking for 7 hours. After about 5 hours, check to make sure the liquid has not completely evaporated. Add more water or broth if necessary.
4. When the lamb is finally done, it will be very tender. Carefully lift out the aluminum foil to avoid spilling any liquid left. Lift out the meat to a platter with the help of the cheesecloth. Put it in the turned-off oven to keep warm.
5. To make the sauce, strain the liquid left in the casserole, pressing the vegetables to extract as much juice as possible. Defat the juices. If the liquid is very concentrated, it may not need to be thickened. (If it needs a little more thickening, dissolve arrowroot or potato starch in an equal amount of water and stir it onto the simmering sauce 1 teaspoon at a time, waiting between additions to see how it thickens.) Taste for seasoning.
6. Serve the lamb with a little of the sauce, accompanied by the Mushroom Ragoût and the Broccoli With Pearl Onions.

Wine notes: We had this with Moss Wood 1998, Momessin Clos de Tart 1999, Rosemount 1990 Merlot. Bordeaux, Rhône, Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah all fattened up and showed a little more fruit when tasted with the lamb, and a Zinfandel deepened into a magnificent wine. — Lee Hong

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