L’Intendant & his slow cooked lamb


Saint-Estèphe is a lovely village perched on a hill just above the banks of the Gironde estuary. It’s a tiny little place with a huge reputation – a reputation for making fine wines. Saint-Estèphe wines are considered to be some of the most robust and earthy of the region.  Saint-Estèphe also happens to be my favorite wine-making village in all of Médoc. It has a very charming little square with a church, a butcher, a wine store and a café that’s open sometimes. In summer, the banks of the estuary are covered with beautiful flowers in every color.  There are moments when Saint-Estèphe feels almost deserted and lost in time, it’s not a lively village by any means, but it’s just how I like it.


One of the rooms at Château Les Ormes de Pez.
One of the rooms at Château Ormes de Pez.


In Pez, a nearby commune of  Saint-Estèphe, there is a small maison d’hôtes (guesthouse) in a château, Ormes de Pez, that I’ve always wanted to discover. It belongs to the Cazes family who own various other vineyards, such as Château Lynch-Bages, as well as restaurants and establishments in Médoc. As they’ve gone to great lengths in their endeavours to promote and improve the region I was curious to see what they had done with Ormes de Pez.

I found the château to be the sort of place I’d love to stay in if I didn’t live in Médoc. In fact I think I might like to stay there anyway, at least once. Beautifully understated rooms, incredible location and view. But then I expected that already. The real surprise of the day was L’Intendant, M. Gilles de Marcellus – the man who runs the place. As he took us through the rooms and garden I could sense that the kitchen was calling him. It turned out he had a rendez-vous with a nice piece of lamb he was cooking for guests that evening. Gilles kindly invited us to the kitchen and even if I just had lunch the inviting smell made me instantly hungry.

M. Gilles de Marcellus, L'Intendant at Château Ormes de Pez
M. Gilles de Marcellus, L’Intendant at Château Ormes de Pez



In the car on the way home I had one thought in my head. I had to have that lamb. Now! So we turned the car around, headed back and asked Gilles for the recipe. He was only happy to oblige so we chatted a bit about different techniques and other recipes, including his version of ratatouille.  A crunchier, modern version he likes to serve with the lamb.  Then I headed to the butcher, M. Pigout, in Saint-Estèphe to get exactly the same lamb as Gilles had.  As they were preparing it we had a little moment in the church, me and my boys. It’s not a very big church but incredibly grand and beautiful for it’s size thus capturing perfectly the spirit of Saint-Estèphe. Small in size but full of character.




I made the lamb the following day and once it was in the oven I started reflecting on what to serve for dessert. With the lamb needing seven hours in the oven I had a lot of time to think. We had visited a cow farm with all the kids earlier in the week and I had several bags of fresh farm milk. They had to be used so milk would be the base of my dessert. In the end I decided on a simple chocolate creme pot served with my classic madeleines and a cachou Lajaunie cream on the side.  Those little licorice pastilles are another favorite, something I’ve cherished since my childhood. They’re little treats from Toulouse and I used to have them as a little girl spending summers with my grandmother. I like everything about them, the taste, the box, the memories they bring.

These little boxes are a reminder of everything I love about France and I hope they will never change.

For all information on Château Ormes de Pez, please send an email [email protected] Tel: +33(0)556593005


Lamb confit with thyme & ratatouille (serves 4-6)


1.2 kg/ 2.6 pounds(approx) of lamb shoulder, deboned and tied

1 large carrot

1 tomato

1 onion

1 celery stalk

6 garlic cloves

A few sprigs of thyme and rosemary

1 bay leaf

30 g unsalted butter

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt & black pepper

For this recipe, ask your butcher to debone and tie a 1.2 kg shoulder of lamb.

Preheat oven 140°C/ 280F

Chop all the vegetable coarsely. Set the garlic cloves aside, leaving the skin on.

In a large cast-iron pot, heat butter and olive oil. Brown meat on all sides, about 3-4 minutes each side. Season with salt and pepper. Remove meat from pot and set aside. In the same pot, add all the vegetable, garlic (skin left on), sauté for 2 minutes and return meat (with all its juices) to the pot. Add water (or chicken stock) halfway up to the meat. Add bay leaf. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Add sprigs of thyme and rosemary on top of meat. Season again with salt & pepper. Cover pot and place in the oven for 6-7 hours. Check on the meat every two hours, drizzle meat with cooking liquid. Slice meat, serve with ratatouille and drizzle with sauce and vegetables from the pot.

note: You can also heat the cooking liquid, add 400 ml/ 1 & 3/4 cups of lamb or veal stock, a small glass of white wine and reduce to half. Check the seasoning then pass it through a sieve into a bowl. Drizzle gravy on lamb before serving.



5 tomatoes

2 aubergines/eggplant

2 zucchini

2 red peppers

2 green peppers

2 white onions

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

A few sprigs of thyme

1 bay leaf

Olive oil, for frying

Salt & black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tomatoes for 2 minutes or until the skin starts to crack. Drain and peel tomatoes. Deseed tomatoes. Dice all the vegetables into small cubes (see photos). Make sure to keep each vegetable in separate bowls.

Next, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan. Sauté each vegetable (they must be all al dente, slightly crunchy) at a time in the following order: onions, peppers, aubergines, zucchini, tomatoes with the crushed garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Finally, mix all the ingredients together in the pan, mix well and turn heat off. Cover with a lid and set aside till serving time.


Petits pots au chocolat/ Chocolate creme pots (serves 6)

400 ml/ 1 & 3/4 cups full cream milk

100 ml/ 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp full cream

180 g/ 6 ounces black chocolate

2 egg yolks

25 g/ 1 tbsp granulated sugar

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Break chocolate into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar until smooth.  Set aside.

Heat milk and cream in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half and remove the seeds with the edge of a knife.
Add seeds and bean to the mixture. Bring to a soft boil and take off the heat. Discard bean pod.
Pour mixture over egg yolks/sugar very slowly, whisking constantly until blended. Return to saucepan and stir constantly for 4-5 minutes, until mixture coats the back of a spoon.

Pour mixture slowly over chocolate, stirring constantly until melted. Pour into small ramequins. Leave to cool at room temperature and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to set.




3 eggs

150 g/ 1 & 1/4 cup  plain flour

125 g/ 1/2 cup butter or margarine (melted)

130 g/ 2/3 cup granulated sugar

20 g/ 2 tbsp honey

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp lemon zest

2 tbsp orange blossom water

Madeleine cake molds (I have silicone ones)

Whisk sugar, honey, salt and eggs together until light and fluffy. Sift flour and baking powder together, then gradually fold in the egg mixture and mix gently. Add the melted butter, orange blossom water and lemon zest, stir lightly, cover and leave to rest for at least 2 hours or overnight in the fridge (that’s better!). It is very important for the batter to be cold before baking – the thermal ‘shock’ is necessary for a good ‘bumpy’ round madeleine.

Preheat your oven 180°C/ 350 F

Butter and sprinkle your molds with flour. Add one good teaspoon of cold batter into the molds. Bake for 10 minutes depending on how big your molds are. When ready, use a round-edged knife to delicately lift each cake.  Makes about 15-20 cakes, depending on mould size.

Licorice custard cream sauce

180 ml/ 3/4 cup full cream milk

60 ml/ 1/4 cup  liquid cream

2 egg yolk

½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise

¼ tsp licorice Lajaunie (or you can use dark strong licorice, grated or sliced finely) – more or less, according to your taste

40 g/ 2 tbsp granulated sugar

Whisk sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl, set aside.

In a saucepan, combine milk, cream, vanilla, licorice and bring to a soft boil, making sure the licorice melts. Pour mixture slowly on egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan, and continue to stir on a low heat until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Take off heat and set aside to cool. Serve as a dipping sauce for the Madeleine cakes.


70 thoughts on “L’Intendant & his slow cooked lamb

  1. Mimi, when in Provence, I always try to get a good piece of lamb, at least once a week, and cook… Will keep this recipe handy for the next time I’m there.
    Pictures are very emotional. And I love the ratatouille!
    Thank you!

  2. After just discovering your blog within the last several weeks, I’ve been making your recipes for my family here in Tennessee, U.S.A. Many thanks for sharing your family and life with us.. : )

  3. So, I made the chicken and the soft boiled egg in bread crumbs with the ratatouille and the eggplant,zucchini tart.All divine except my eggplant dish!The eggplant was not cooked enough,but it did look as beautiful as YOURS!I will try again at a higher temp.Any idea what I did wrong…..??

    1. Bonjour! So glad you enjoye dthe ratatouille! For the eggplant tart in the previous post , I would advise to slice the aubergine really thin, and drizzle a generous amount of olive oil. Perhaps putting it at a higher level in the oven? Just wrap the edges with foil to avoid a dark crust. Wishing you good results! Bisous, Mimix

  4. Hello Mimi
    I look forward to reading your blog so much, with the beautiful photographs your husband takes, the great country side that you live in and the fantastic food that you share .
    I have made a few of your recipes , the most recent being your mother inlaw’s cake ( which got rave reviews from all).
    Your whole menu today is my husbands idea of a perfect meal and I look forward to making it for him.
    Once again thank you for sharing your beautiful life with us.

  5. Reminds me of food I grew up with we called it briami and I loved the crispy part of it–it wasn’t intentional though just the dried part on top. Will try the al dente version and lamb that just melted in your mouth…sweet tasty, grassy goodness! Happy Nesting.

  6. Perfection Mimi…
    This lamb sounds (and looks amazing)… and I like the idea of the crunchier ratatouille…
    Thank you for the culinary inspiration… and my husband thanks you too… 🙂 xv

    1. Bonjour Vicki! The crunchier ratatouille was a hit – I think I shall stick to that recipe always 🙂 Gilles de Marcellus is such a wonderful cook, and he is the perfect ‘intendant’ at Château Ormes de Pez – a magical, simple and elegant place that I am sure you would adore! Say bonjour to your husband! Would love to cook a lovely meal for both of you one day! Mimix

      1. Mimi. a good Western Australian leg of lamb with rosemary, garlic and slices of orange, slow rostered in the oven for 5 hours, roasted potatoes and your ratatouille which was the perfect accompaniment (loved the crunch). A bottle or two of good WA red wine and our friends left sated. As there is just the two of us now, we always invite friends to dine when there is a large piece of meat to be consumed. An apple tartin with cream to follow finished an enjoyable evening. Thank you for the receipe.

  7. Good morning Mimi, reading your post while waiting for my husband at the airport and drinking my green tea. I felt I am with you visitng that amazing place, thank you for the beautiful tour. The recipe sounds and looks delicious, it is on my list now Thank you. Interesting recipe using Licorice, I would love to try it. I can’t wait for your book, best of luck and success xoxo

    1. Bonjour Rowaida! Oh you would love staying at Château Ormes de Pez – it’s so elegant and beautiful – the views are breathtaking. Time simply stops when you are there. Thank you for your beautiful support – always makes my day! Bonne journée, Mimix

  8. Delicious Mimi,
    Slow cooked lamb and ratatouille a match made in heaven. I spy a nice bottle of red too…..a gorgeous Bordeaux from St. Estephe? Inspired!!! Don’t know what to do first…cook or open a red. Bonne Journee Mimi
    xx anita

    1. Ma chère Anita,

      We enjoyed this meal so much, especially as it came straight from Gilles at Ormes de Pez – it’s such an elegant ‘chambres d’hôtes’, 5 rooms to fulfill anyone’s dream! And that view? I would suggest cooking while having a glass of red – I enjoy that moment so much, especially listening to the soundtrack of the movie ‘Fauteuils d’orchestre’ – have you seen this movie? Mimix

      1. Yes, I love Fauteuils D’Orchestre!!! The music is really beautiful. You’ve just reminded me how good it was. Mimi, I saw Haute Cuisine the other day. Have you seen this film? The chef that inspired the making of this movie came to Melbourne to open the French Film Festival in March. She now has a truffle farm in New Zealand. I’m cooking to “Little French Songs” Carla Bruni at the moment. Love Carla. Bon Journee Mimi xx anita

  9. Oh! I just love licorice, unfortunately it is not very popular here in Austria. Looks like the perfect dessert for me! I only discovered your blog recently and I really admire your work. The pictures are just beyond beautiful…

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! Licorice has always been one of my favourite candies, they vary in taste from country to country. Where my husband comes from, Iceland, they eat mostly salty licorice – it’s so delicious. I will be posting a few more recipes soon on licorice flavored treats! Bonne journée, Mimix

  10. Somehow… Today I came close to tears watching Oddurs photographs and reading your beautiful story… Thank you again and again! The basque-greek chicken and your gateau basque I made were both extra-delicious. And this lamb and those madeleines is something I definitely have to try the next occasion that will occur…
    A million greetings to you, to Oddur and to your lovely children from mine…

    1. Bonjour Yushka! Thank YOU for being so wonderful! We were so impressed with your Basque cake, an dthe chicken looked perfect. I hope your little boy enjoyed his birthday cake. Greetings to you and your family, Mimix

      1. Dear Mimi! We had a big Party on Jonathans birthday and I had to prepare several cakes and Dinner for 15 (I prepared the greek Soup fasolada and fresh greek Lagana bread, a Tarte Tatin Surprise after Ottolenghi again and a Mousse ou Chocolat with red Pepper for Dessert). So I decided to stick to my Apple Cognac Pie and a Strawberry Cream Cake and Sophie made a Guglhupf (marmorized black and white cake). But I will definitely bake your meringue dream and post it, so you can see how wonderully inspiring your postings are! How long do you keep your egg whites? I finally threw mine away… Have a nice Day! Y.

  11. You’ve spoilt us yet again, Mimi – lamb confit, ratatouille, chocolate pots, madeleines AND licorice custard! I must admit that I greedily scroll down to take in the beautiful photos whenever there is a new post from you! I love the portrait of the beautiful pony (a pottok?) – he looks very thoughtful!

  12. bonjour, mimi! this post is so timely, as my beloved and i are planning a trip to the medoc (and dordogne and loire!) region … i love st. estephe wine and look forward to drinking it from the source!

    an unrelated question: your polka dot dress is beautiful — would you be so kind as to share with us where you found it?

    merci, mimi!

    1. Bonjour Nadia! So glad you read this post in good time, I left the contact details of Ormes de Pez in the post. It’s such an amazing place – they have 5 rooms, so it’s best to book early – you can then sample some of Gilles exquisite French home cooking! This polka dot dress is from a little French brand called ‘Votre Nom’, and ballerinas from Salvatore Ferragamo. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any advice for your Médoc trip! Mimix

      1. mille fois merci, mimi! the varina flats are also on my wishlist 🙂
        it’s so generous of you to offer advice for my trip in the autumn – i will certainly contact you for recommendations in the coming months!

  13. Hi Mimi, as always, you inspired me a lot! Your pictures are so nice and when today would be not a public holiday in Germany, I would go to buy the ingredients for this delicious meal 🙂

  14. I always look forward to new blog posts and this one is of my favorite type — where you go on a little adventure and I get a glimpse into a world I would never otherwise get to see. I love that you always charm your way into the kitchen and find a story and a person ‘behind the scenes’ where many travelers would never look! Some of my favorite wines used to be from St Estephe (used to because I have not been drinking much since I had my baby, not because the wines have been eclipsed).

  15. In love with this blog and all your posts, so inspirational, so beautiful, so creative……
    Wish to live in France one day!

  16. I love how you make outings and dinners with your family so special. Something I would love to start doing now and someday when I have children. You just make life so special and that is something to applaud and aspire to.

  17. Lovely Mimi,

    I was eagerly waiting for the next post…and what a treat you put in front of us…
    The pictures are, again, mesmerizing….I can almost hear the music….
    I will start cooking even if I don’t have my friends here … maybe they will come guided by the incredible scent of an amazing meal 🙂
    Wish you a superb weekend…and thank you for being so amazing!

    1. That’s the spirit Natalia! I find cooking so inspiring – the scent, the creation, the happy feeling – it makes my heart sing! I hope you will enjoy a few of these treats. Bon week-end! Mimix ps: you have to try the madeleine recipes (best to leave the batter overnight)!

      1. It’s a promise ! I will make them this weekend 🙂 I will have all my neighbors knocking at my door !!!
        PS: I am so impressed that you take the time to reply to almost all our comments. That is outstanding!

  18. outstanding as usual,that lamb looks as if it would melt in your mouth and the chocolate cream cups are something to die for.thank you,your photos and recipes are always inspiring.

  19. I have been to Paris once and now I want to travel once again to this tiny little place you are talking about. And that lamb sounds absolutely delicious.

  20. Your blog is a true beauty!!!
    N now I so want to move to france n live there n loose myself in this beautiful sorrunding.
    The lamb dish looks delicious n the photography is beyond beautiful. .

  21. Just a quick note that there seems to be a typo. The petits pots au chocolat recipe lists vanilla bean as an ingredient, but doesn’t say what to do with it. I presume it should be infused into the milk at the beginning, and removed before whisking the milk into the egg yolks? (at least, this is the basic method that I use for pastry cream, following recipes from http://www.bravetart.com) thanks for what looks to be a lovely site, I just discovered it and i’m looking forward to making my first recipe!

    1. Thank you so much! It was a typo indeed – I just made the changes! Enjoy the recipes – my family and I adore this dessert. And thank you SO much for visiting Manger – I hope you will enjoy other recipes! Bon week-end! Mimix

  22. I found your blog quite recently
    & I’m quite gobsmacked,
    incredibly beautiful, interesting mouthwatering…
    I think I’ll be spending a lot of time going devouring your previous posts 🙂
    I have a thing for those lovely little Lajaunie tins, too, and make sure I slip a few in my suitcase whenever I visit France.

    Take care, x

  23. I have never commented before on your website however I have suddenly had the urge to let you know how gorgeous and magical it is, I always look forward to your next post. Your passion for good food and life is inspiring, best wishes to your family

  24. I love pots de crème and have been collecting little pots to make them myself. I was excited to try this recipe. I used very fresh cream and milk. They were warming together nicely. I added the vanilla seeds and bean and went to look out at the rain falling on our flowers. When I walked back into the kitchen, the cream and milk were curdling. Dismayed, I strained off the curdled portions, mixed the rest as directed with the egg yolk and sugar and began heating the mixture. Again, just more curdling and separating. The fire was low both times. I can only think it was the vanilla? Please advise if you know why this happened. Very disappointed. :-/

    1. Hi Jodi! Oh dear – I am trying to figure out out what went wrong… When I heat the milk and cream (I use crème liquide entière and full cream milk), I just bring it to a soft boil – there is no curdling then. How long did you leave the milk/cream for? When pouring on the egg yolk/sugar, you must whisk continuously. Could it be the cream or the milk? What type of cream did you use? I certainly don’t think the vanilla would have caused the curdling. I hope you will try again, because it’s such a lovely dessert. Wish I could help more – good luck Mimix

  25. Hi Mimi, I am absolutely smitten with your blog, photos, story….such joie de vivre….we are so lucky that you share with us all! Thank you also for the very kind mention on Saveur…such a daymaker for me. Wishing you the best of everything. Imen x

    1. Bonjour Imen! A big warm hello from Médoc! Thank you so much for dropping by – I adore your blog, the recipes and magical charm of Ireland is simply mesmerizing. My husband and I can’t wait to visit! Mimixx

  26. Oh Mimi, your talented husband’s photos remind me of Sant’ Erasmo and those beautiful Italian Artichokes. Every time I had small Chloe in Europe for the summer she wanted to go to Venice, her best place in the world, and we’d always take a boat to Lido for a swim and Sant’ Erasmo for the veggies. It’s hard to grow artichokes here in my small garden in Vancouver or even in my much larger garden in Oxfordshire because I can’t dedicate myself to the garden for the whole season. Oh well, in my next life I’ll own that organic farm I dream about. 🙂

  27. You live my dream life. You’re beautiful, handsome husband charming children and dogs. We have a terrible heat wave here so not doing much cooking but when it cools off, I want to try your zucchini/eggplant tart.
    You should turn this blog into a book.
    I want to be first to buy it.

    1. Hi Mimi! Oh my, your comment is too kind! Thank you so much for being a cheerleader – so grateful to hear such kind words. I understand not wanting to cook so much in this heat – it’s all about cold food, like gazpachos and salads. I made a bo bun for a beach picnic last week – that was really nice 🙂 My oven is nearly always on, even during this heat – I am always cooking something, I just can’t help it! Wishing you a very happy summer holidays!
      ps: I am currently writing a book!
      pps: will be posting more zucchini recipes tonight, or tomorrow morning, so stay tuned 🙂

  28. I just returned from my vacation in Médoc. I stayed in château Ormes de Pez, a trully magic place! It was such a surprise staying at château to read about it in your blog 🙂 And yes, I can confim Mimi’s words: L’intendant, he is a surprise 🙂

  29. Love your programme, recipes, music , i have already copies many of your recipes with sucess my family of seven enjoy each and every meal ive copied , but i have lost my copy of your tourte forestier and can’t find it on the net …is it possible you could repost it .. Many thanks

    1. Et voilà! Enjoy – Mimi x

      Tourte de la foret
      450 g de pâte feuilletée
      150 g foie gras (coupé en petit cube)
      500 g de chair de cuisses (effilochées) de canard confites
      150 g chair à saucisse
      150 g cèpes ou girolles (faire revenir dans du beurre et persillade)
      3 brins de thym
      50 ml Armagnac
      2 oeufs
      50 g beurre
      4 cas de crème fraîche
      1 pincée noix de muscade moulue
      2 branches de persil haché
      2 oignons jaunes (émincés)
      sel et poivre
      Faire suer les oignons dans une poêle avec du beurre.
      Dans un grand bol, mélanger la chair de cuisses de canard confites, la chair à , saucisses, le thym, l’oignon cuit, les oeufs, la crème fraîche, l’armagnac, le persil, les champignons,la noix de muscade, le foie gras, sel et poivre. Bien mélanger.
      Abaisser la pâte brisée et en foncer un moule à tarte.
      Etaler la farce et recouvrir de la 2ème pate feuillettée.
      Dorer avec un jaune d’oeuf.
      Enfourner dans un four préchauffé 180°C pendant 25-30 m.

  30. I love lamb. My mom loves lamb. Now my husband does too. Sadly, I don’t get to have it as often as I like any longer. I used to buy it from a local (45 minute drive away) farm. The wife, who had a cute little store and sold their farm products on the web, has died and the farm has been sold. I used to love watching those little lambs bounding all over the pasture!

    Tonight, however, Mom is coming for her bi-monthly dinner with us and I decided to make this dish. The smells wafting in from my oven are transporting me to Pez! I can’t wait to try it! Although, I am giving it an extra hour and a half in the oven because I overlooked the need for a deboned roast.

    I love your book and this website Mimi! I am looking forward to trying so many of the recipes. I think for next week, when I work 4 days noon to 9pm, I will make the Poule-Au-Pot your husband likes so much. Thank you for sharing your life and talent Mimi!

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