Sunday, 19 April 2015
Braised Neck of Lamb Casserole with Butter Beans
A traditional Provencal farm house dish. Still often a favourite on rural cafe set menus in the South of France. Tastes amazing, doddle to cook and uses cheap ingredients. For best results use fresh herbs rather than dried ones. Feeds 4.
500 - 600g of lamb neck fillets
5 salad tomatoes, chopped roughly into chuncks
500mls boiled water
2 tins of butter beans
200g of smoked bacon lardons
1 large handful of curly leaf parsley (6 or 7 sprigs)
The same quantity of thyme (6 or 7 springs)
2 bay leafs
1 sprig of rosemary
25g unsalted butter
2 table spoons of olive oil
6 whole garlic cloves peeled
Preheat your oven to 150 degrees and prep your ingredients. In a frying pan, on a low to medium flame, heat your olive oil and butter until it starts to froth. Fry your lamb fillets in the butter and oil for 8 to 10 minutes, turning frequently and seasoning with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper as you go. You want them to end up browned all over.
Remove from the heat and transfer the neck fillets into a casserole dish. Spoon the excess fat out of your frying pan and then pour in 100ml of your boiled water, return to the heat and stir, to deglaze your pan. In effect what you are doing here is absorbing all the crispy brown bits and all the meat juices from the pan. You should achieve this in less than 2 minutes. Once done, pour this liquid over your lamb neck fillets in your casserole dish.
Now add to the casserole all your other ingredients except the lardons and the butter beans. Specifically, that is your 6 peeled but not chopped garlic cloves, your tomatoes, the parsley, thyme, rosemary and bay leafs and as much water as is required to cover your ingredients in the casserole. Cover with a lid and place into your preheated oven and cook for between 1 hour 30 and 2 hours.
An hour before the dish is ready, place your bacon lardons on a baking tin and place them onto a shelf in your oven to crisp up. Once they have browned and reached the desired degree of crispness use a slotted spoon to separate them from the fat that has been rendered from them cooking and place them and your butter beans into your casserole for the last 45 minutes of cooking.
Serve up in a bowl with some rice and a chunk of rustic bread.