With the weather not quite deciding whether to switch to summer mode, I offer my French Lamb casserole. This recipe uses a style of French cooking as pioneered by Julia Child in the 1960s for the American market. I often use her ideas as a basis for my cooking. You can leave out the white beans and add green beans towards the end of cooking, and to spark it up, add some tomato
What you’ll need
150g dried white beans, boiling water
1.5kg lamb cut into pieces half the size of a ping-pong ball
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 onions – finely chopped
2 carrots – cut into small dice
2 sticks celery cut crosswise into thin strips
4 fat cloves garlic – finely chopped
6 sprigs thyme
4 bay leaves
1 litre NoMU Fond Lamb stock
1 X 410g tin while peeled tomatoes – liquidized
4 carrots – cut into wine cork shapes
8 new potatoes – peeled
Oryx Desert Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
What you’ll do
Starting the night before, pick over the beans to remove any that are not good and place them in a bowl. Pour over boiling water to cover them by twice the volume. Allow to cool and put in the fridge overnight. Next day have ready an ovenproof casserole, I use a 30cm Le Creuset Casserole and preheat the oven to 200C. Season the lamb pieces well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle with flour and rub it in shaking off any excess. Heat the casserole over medium heat and pour in sufficient olive oil to cover the base. Raise the temperature – not too hot – and brown the lamb pieces about half of them at a time until nice and brown all over. Remove the browned pieces to a plate as you proceed. When done, add the onion and stir-fry till transparent and taking on some colour. Add the carrot and celery and stir-fry for a short while, then add the garlic and stir till it takes on a bit of colour. Put the lamb on top and any juices which may have gathered on the plate, add the thyme, bay leaves, NoMU Fond lamb stock and the tomatoes. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the casserole in the middle of the oven and leave it there for 30 minutes. Drop the heat to 150C and cook for a further hour. Meantime cook the beans in fresh water for about 20 minutes at a simmer only adding the salt a couple of minutes before the end. Now add the beans and the potatoes and carrots and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are cooked. Check for seasoning and reseason if necessary.
Serve with steamed Basmati rice and a green vegetable like wilted Swiss chard.
Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE