I’ve just spent the last week in Sydney with family. We had a great meal one night that everyone had a hand in cooking. Phil found the recipe (he’s cooked this before), I did all the prep, and Kate turned the oven on and cooked it.
The recipe comes from Jamie Oliver. It’s in his book Jamie Does… and is a take on a real French classic. The beans are cooked beneath the leg of lamb. All the fat and juice from the lamb drips into the beans infusing it with great flavour.
There are two ways to cook the lamb – like a normal roast which you then slice and serve on top of the beans, or cooked long and slow then pulled apart or shredded and served with the beans. The latter is by far my preferred option. It looks great and tastes even better.
This recipe serves 6 easily.
- 1 leg of lamb on the bone (between 2 and 2.5 kg)
- sea salt and ground black pepper
- olive oil
- 10 cloves peeled garlic
- small bunch of thyme
- 3 medium leeks, peeled and sliced diagonally 2cm thick
- 2 onions peeled and finely sliced
- 1 or 2 fresh bayleaves
- 2 small bunches of flat leaf parsley
- 4 x 400g tins of butter beans (whatever you can get)
- 1.5 litres of chicken, lamb or vegetable stock
- white wine to supplement the chicken stock if you don’t have enough.
Turn your oven up as far as it can go. While you are waiting for it to reach temperature take your leg of lamb and stab it all over with a small knife. Poke sliced garlic and some of the fresh thyme into the slits. You want to leave the leg of lamb out of the fridge to bring it to room temperature before it goes back in the oven.
Then move onto the vegetables. You need a deep roasting tray that you can use on top of the oven. It needs to be deep as all the liquid and vegetables goes in with enough room to suspend the leg of lamb above it on a rack.
Put the leeks, onions and 6 cloves of garlic into your oven roasting tray. Add some olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper and then cook over a medium heat until the leeks and onions soften.
Add some fresh thyme, the bay leaf, and the four cans of butter beans with their juice to the leeks and onions. The four cans looks like heaps when you first put them in but rest assured – they reduce to a beautiful pulp. Pour in the stock, and some wine if you don’t have enough stock. Stir to mix.
Place the lamb on the oven rack above this vegetable medley. Put the meat and vegetables into the oven and immediately turn it down to 160°C or 325°F. Cook the lamb and beans for 3 hours or more, or until the meat pulls off easily.
Move the meat onto a board and cover with foil to keep warm. Rest it for 30 minutes.
Turn the oven back up and reduce the vegetable liquid, but only if you need to. Jamie removes a third of the beans and mashes them, then returns them to the bean/leek mix. We didn’t do this as the beans had cooked so well they kind of mashed on their own. Shred your meat, and serve on top of the bean mixture. Sprinkle parsley over the top and serve.