Every year at Thanksgiving, and for 20 or 30 years now, we cook a nice leg of lamb. I'm not sure why we started having lamb in November, except that we got tired of cooking poultry twice in one month's time at the end of the year — for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We'll have turkey or a capon or a guinea fowl for the December holidays.
Thanksgiving is a good occasion for a special treat like lamb. We seldom cook a second leg of lamb during the year. A gigot is really too much for the two of us, so when we cook one we eat it for three or four days running (if not longer), serving it several different ways.
The first day, it's a leg of lamb the French way, served with little green flageolet beans. The lamb is cooked rare in a hot oven and seasoned with garlic and thyme. Some years we have a vinaigrette-dressed green salad as part of the lamb feast, and some years we have some other green. Haricots verts are good with the flageolets. Yesterday, giving thanks for the new boiler, we made our dinner with lamb, beans, and collard greens cooked with tomatoes.
Today, we'll have cold rare lamb with home-made mayonnaise. It's something I learned to make more than 30 years ago, when I lived in Paris. The flageolets can be served warm with some chopped garlic and parsley added to them, or cold with vinaigrette. Add a green salad, especially if you didn't have one the day before.
There will be much lamb left over still. The rarest part of the meat, close to the bone, can be chopped or diced and made into a hash with onions, diced carrots, mushrooms, and some flageolet beans if there are any left. Collard greens will go well with that. Another option is to use the hash to make a shepherd's pie with some creamy mashed potatoes.
And so on. There's always the option of freezing some of the meat for later. This year, we got the leg of lamb from David Audas, a butcher down in Saint-Aignan. He's good, and he's our normal supplier.
The other day, I needed to go to the local Intermarché supermarket for some things. I checked the butcher counter there, which is also very good, and I saw gigot d'agneau from the United Kingdom for about 18 euros a kilo. Call me chauvin, but I'd rather have French lamb.
Then I went up to SuperU for some other things and checked out the butcher counter there. Leg of lamb, from where I don't know, was priced at 23 euros a kilo. I decided the trip to David's butcher shop would be worth it. There, I got a 2.2 kg gigot, beautifully trimmed (un gigot raccourci) and "dressed" for just 18.50 euros per kilo. It's French-raised lamb from the Limousin region south of us, and the leg cost me just over 40 euros. We'll get six, eight, or even 10 delicious servings out of that, as described above.