Gascony Lamb Casserole
2 1/2 lb Lamb cut into 1in chunks
8 oz Pork belly cut into 1in
6 oz Dried cannellini beans
1 Olive ciabatta
2 Spanish onions
24 Cloves garlic
2 50g tins anchovy fillets
3/4 pt Red wine
1 284ml fresh chicken stock
French bread to serve
Salt & pepper
You will need a large frying pan and an earthenware casserole with a lid.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 2 300?F 150?C.
Start the recipe the day before it is needed by bringing the beans to the
boil in plenty of water (do not add salt) and simmering for 10 minutes.
Drain the beans and discard the cooking water. Put the beans back into at
least 4in of fresh, cold water and leave them to soak overnight.
Reduce the ciabatta loaf to rough breadcrumbs. Peel the onions and chop
into 1/2in pieces. Peel all 24 garlic cloves - boring but worth it in the
end! Pour in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large, heavy frying
pan and saut? the onions (not the garlic) over a medium heat for about 15
minutes until they have taken on some colour. Using a slotted spoon, remove
the onions from the pan and put into a large earthenware casserole.
Sprinkle salt lightly and grind black pepper lavishly over the chunks of
lamb. Add some more olive oil to the frying pan, turn the heat up high and
in 2 or 3 batches sear the lamb cubes quickly on all sides. Remove each
batch to the casserole as soon as it has browned. You might need to add a
little more oil to the frying pan as you go along, but remember to heat it
well before adding the lamb. Once all the lamb has been browned, put the
frying pan to one side for a moment while you add the garlic clove and
whole anchovy fillets to the casserole, tucking them well down into the
layers of meat.
Return the frying pan to a high heat and 'deglaze' it by adding the red
wine and bringing it to a fast boil for 3 minutes, while vigorously
scraping all the browned sediment into the wine. Now add the stock and
continue cooking for a further 2 minutes after the liquid returns to the
boil. Now pour everything from the pan into the casserole. Give it a good
stir, put the lid on and place in the slow preheated oven for about 2
hours, until the meat and beans are both very soft and tender.
When the casserole is cooked remove it from the oven and turn the grill on
to a high setting. Dredge the breadcrumbs over the lamb in a thick layer
and trickle a little olive oil over the top. Place under the grill for a
minute or two until you have a golden brown crust. Serve with a crisp green
vegetable and warm french bread.