Before my stove blew up I was already shamefully lagging in The Cookbook Challenge and now I'm even more behind - mon dieu! However my new appliance has finally been installed, so I thought it best to just plunge on with the current week and cook a French inspired dish.
I've had my eye on this Roast Lamb With Beans ever since I was gifted Jamie Oliver's new book Jamie Does Spain, Italy, Morocco, Sweden, Greece and France and what better way to christen my oven than by cooking something directly on the racks!
Jamie gives the option of doing either a slow cooked version or a regular one. As I had the afternoon at home today I opted for the three hour cooking time and the pull-apart meat. And boy am I glad I did! This dish was sublime. The creamy beans as so full of flavour after soaking up the juices from the lamb it's almost obscene.
My first whirl with the new oven was impressive - and now I have a quality appliance it's time to start trying all those dishes I've been putting off!
My new oven and my new Wagons tea towel
It's really simple prep for this dish and if you don't have the luxury of a lazy arvo of cooking you can still get it done in the usual 1 1/4 hours that you would need for a regular roast.
The recipe calls for canned flageolet beans but if you can't get these any other tinned white beans are fine to use.
Ingredients - Serves 6 (As it was just Mr Tea and me for dinner I used about half the amounts below and a smaller lamb leg.)
1 leg of lamb on the bone (approx 2kg)
10 cloves of garlic
small bunch of fresh thyme
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 medium leeks, peeled and sliced diagonally 2cm thick
2 onions peeled and finely sliced
1 fresh bay leaf (I didn't have these so just used a couple of little dried ones)
large bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
4 x 400gm tins of beans
1.5 litres chicken, lamb or vegetable stock (I used chicken)
salt and pepper to season
Preheat the oven on high.
Use a small sharp knife to stab the lamb leg all over. Season it with salt and pepper and rub in some olive oil. Slice 4 of the garlic cloves and stuff them into the incisions you made in the lamb. Poke in some thyme and rosemary too.
Meanwhile, put the leeks, onions and remaining whole garlic cloves in the baking dish you're going to roast them in and place on the stove over a medium heat. Season with salt and pepper and add a splash of olive oil. Cook stirring occassionally for 15 minutes or until they are soft.
Tie the thyme and half the parsley and bay leaf (if using a fresh one) together with cooking string and add it to the tray. Pour in the beans and stock and stir well to combine everything.
Place the lamb directly on the oven rack (I put mine on a wire rack and then on the oven one just so it was easier to get it in and out) and place the tray of veg underneath so all the juices from the lamb can drip down on top of it.
If you're doing the quick version, reduce heat to 180C degrees and cook for about 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 hours depending on how pink you like the meat. Rest the lamb for 15 minutes and put the beans back on the stove on a high heat to reduce the liquid (leave a little bit for when you add the mashed ones: see below).
If you're doing the slow cooked version, reduce the heat to 160C degrees and cook for about 3 hours. There will be no need to reduce the beans after cooking this long but leave them in the oven covered, to stay warm while you rest the meat for around half an hour (cover the meat in foil too).
Before serving put about a third of the cooked beans in a bowl and mash them. Stir them back in the tray of veg to make it nice and creamy. Finely chop the rest of the parsley and stir it through the veg too.
Serve the lamb on top of the beans.