Here goes my first food blogging event! Waiter there’s something in my … is a food event with broad themes, hence an easy one to get started with. This month the theme is pulses and it’s hosted by Jeanne from Cook sister.
Now that the spring lamb season is about to begin and it’s still cool enough at night for casseroles, I’ve chosen braised lamb with flageolet beans. The beans absorb all the juices from the lamb and the flavours of the stock while they’re bubbling away, resulting in a soft, velvety texture.
Cooking with dried beans can be a chore. First of all, you have to remember in advance to soak the beans. Then, if you’re using kidney beans, they need a ten minute blast of rapid boiling to get rid of the toxins. And finally, there’s the lengthy cooking time. If your beans are past their best, throw them away because you’ll find that they never quite soften, no matter how long you cook them.
With this dish, it’s not cooking the beans that’s the hard part. It’s that look on Mr B’s face when you tell him that’s your lot, it’s all gone.
Update: Jeanne has now posted the roundup of WTSIM March 2008.
100g dried flageolet beans, soaked overnight
1 tbsp olive oil
250g leg of lamb, diced
1 onion, diced
2 large carrots, cut into 5cm chunks
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp plain flour
2 bay leaves
250ml white wine
500ml vegetable or chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 150˚C. Heat an ovenproof casserole*, add the oil and brown the meat. You’ll end up with some nice crusty bits that will add flavour and colour. Remove the meat. Fry the onion and carrots for a few minutes, then add the garlic. Cook for about another minute and then stir in the flour. Put the meat back in, season and add the bay leaves. Pour on the wine and stock, then add the beans and stir. Bring to a gentle simmer. Put the casserole in the oven and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the beans are soft, stirring occasionally.
* Don’t worry if you haven’t got an ovenproof casserole. You can cook this dish in a large saucepan on the top of the stove instead.