Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Lamb with flageolets

Here's another recipe suggestion for a warming casserole, ideal for the snowy Winter weather we are currently experiencing.  This one combines diced lamb with flageolet beans (the immature green ones), but it would work equally well with other pulses such as haricots, borlotti, cannellini, etc.

What you need: (to serve two people)
Approx 300g diced leg of lamb, dusted with seasoned flour
Approx 250g pre-cooked flageolet beans (I used a 265g tin)
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
l large sprig of thyme or other herb
Approx 500ml stock
1 squeeze of tomato puree
Salt and pepper

Soften the onions over a low heat until translucent
Add the garlic to the onions and cook for one more minute
Brown the lamb
Combine the lamb with the onions in a suitable oven-proof dish
Add the flageolets, reserving about a quarter of them
Add the thyme or other herb, and the tomato puree
Add about 400ml of the stock, reserving the remainder for later
Add salt and pepper to taste
Cook in a low oven (approx 150C) for at least 2 hours - maybe 3 - adding remaining stock if required to maintain a fairly loose, but not "watery", consistency.
About half an hour before serving time, add the remaining flageolets. [This gives you some beans that are firmer than the ones cooked for 2 - 3 hours]

Serving suggestion:
Serve with soft polenta and a green vegetable (I used Brussels Sprout tops)
I also served some carrots, just to add some colour
Accompany with a nice red wine - e.g. a claret / red Bordeaux

Can you see that thing (bottom left) that looks like a mushroom? Well, it's not a mushroom, but an artichoke heart. I'm not going to say much about this, just that we got a couple of artichokes in our veg box, so I used them. What a pfaff! Artichoke hearts are in my opinion tolerable, but nothing to write home about. A huge amount of preparation means that 95% of the vegetable is discarded, while that which remains is grey and thoroughly unremarkable.

And the lamb? Well, it was everything I had hoped for - very lamby! Tender, tasty and "enrobed in savoury unctuousness" (aka gravy)!

I have got the preparation of soft polenta down to a fine art now: use about a third of the water you are going to use and mix it (cold) into the cornmeal to make a smooth paste. Put the rest of the water into a (preferably non-stick) pan and bring it to the boil. Tip in the polenta paste; stir; add some grated Parmesan cheese for extra flavour; serve. Works a treat - and not a lump in sight! [With thanks to Girleigh Mcgavin who left me advice about this in a comment on an earlier post.]


  1. It looks very tasty Mark. Ideal for this time of year.

  2. I've often wondered about artichokes. Maybe the flowers are best left for the bees.

  3. I initially thought it was a very pale yorkshire pudding but then took a second look!... lovely stew, really warming and hearty x

  4. Hmmmm, I've got some diced lamb in the freezer. I've never tried artichoke, polenta or flageolet beans come to that. The only veg I ever buy in a tin is peas, and they're for emergencies when there's nothing else in, or sweetcorn or baked beans, but I may have to give this a try, you've sold it to me.

  5. I love lamb - and this meal looks perfect for cold winter night. I like artichokes but they are a bit of work. They do like a bit of lemon to keep from oxidizing.

    1. David; the THEORY of lemon to prevent the artichokes from going grey is great, but I can tell you that it doesn't work!

  6. I love flageolet beans! Your dish looks very tasty! Greetings from Poland :)


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