Seven Hour Lamb Redux à la Marine

I have been fiddling with this recipe for a couple of weeks and I think it's coming close to being perfected, not to Marine's level of course, but to a place where I don't have to think about it too much.

1 boned leg of lamb (keep the bone and roast it for your doggies)
good olive oil
coarse salt & (freshly ground) pepper
2 or 3 large onions, peeled, quartered, sliced not too thin
1 cup white wine
1 can chicken stock
12 cloves of garlic, smushed
1 large can chopped tomatoes
a few bushy sprigs of thyme
3 bay leaves
4 or 5 big carrots, peeled and chopped into big-ish chunks
4 or 5 stalks of celery, chopped into chunks
4 or 5 potatoes, peeled and quartered lengthwise

Heat your oven to 225°F. Make sure the rack is low enough to fit your large pot.

Heat a large lidded pot (a big Le Creuset is perfect) on medium high, and when it's hot add a tablespoon or three of olive oil. Dry the lamb, pat dry with the ubiquitous paper towels, salt and pepper it and brown it in the hot pan. I've just learned not to be scared of this, to do it hot enough even if it spits at you, and to wait until it's ready to move before turning it (as soon as it's browned, it will let go of the bottom of your pan). This takes at least 10 minutes. At least.

Remove lamb. Reduce heat a little and add onions and celery and let them color a little. Add thyme, bay leaves and then garlic (don't let garlic burn, it's frightfully volatile, rather like one's temper). Add your cup of wine (ie whatever you have left in the chardonnay bottle from the night before). Let the wine cook down a little and then throw in the can of good old chicken stock, although you can use beef stock but I didn't have any. Let this cook down a little and then add the can of chopped tomatoes, juice and all. Bring back to the boil. Put the lamb back in the pot and scatter the carrots and potatoes around. Let it bubble again. Salt and pepper for luck. Tear off a large piece of parchment paper, crumple it on top of the pan, pop the lid on and shove it in the oven. You can turn the lamb a couple of times if you like, and if you think it's bubbling too hard reduce the oven to 200F after 2 hours. Leave it in the oven for seven hours or so until it is spoon-soft. Serve with chopped parsley and really good bread (which you can use to mop up the scrummy juices) and perhaps a nice garlicky salad of bitter greens. 

-- Courtesy of Bumble Ward