As the clocks change you need a few comfort dishes and not many are better than this. There is a quick way and a slow way for this dish. The slow way is better, and it isn’t much more trouble, you just need dried borlotti beans, to soak them overnight (12 hours in cold water). Once done, wash the beans and you are ready to use them. If not, washed tinned borlotti work, but are not quite as good.
Ingredients (serves 8-10)
2kg /4.5lb Leg of lamb
2 bulbs of garlic
4 sprigs of rosemary
500g bag of dried borlotti beans
2 large glasses of dry white wine
Handful of flat leaf parsley
4tbl Single cream
1 tbl plain flour
Splash of Olive oil
1 pint of fresh lamb stock (if not use a good chicken or vegetable stock cubes – Marigold Vegetable Bouillon is good, but be very careful about salt content, it can be very salty). Before you add it the stock should be hot.
Use the general rule for lamb roasting of 15 minutes per pound, plus 15 over for pink, or 20 minutes per pound plus 20 over for well done. For me this dish is best pink, but that is personal choice. So in this instance cooking time is One Hour and 22 minutes. Always rest the meat at the end, I go for 5-10 minutes as more than that and the meat can get a bit cold.
Get you borlotti bean ready, soak overnight if using dried, then wash them. Turn the oven up to full. Crush one clove of garlic with one to two tablespoons of olive oil and the flour plus a teaspoon of sea salt. Mix until you have a paste. Using your hands, coat the lamb with the paste. This gives it a great crispy coating and helps to thicken the sauce during cooking. Put the lamb into a large casserole dish and into the oven for a fifteen minute burn. Separate all the cloves of garlic, leaving all but 3 in their skins. Crush the 3 cloves of garlic. Take the meat out of the oven and turn it down to 180C/160C fan. Put the casserole on the hob and turn the heat up full, pour in 1 tbl olive oil and chuck in all the garlic, and the rosemary. Add the wine and the stock and bring to a quick simmer. Put in the borlotti (if using dried as they need to cook fully). The beans should be covered by the liquid. If not add a little more stock or boiling water. The meat should not have been out of the oven for more than 5 minutes at this point. Then put the casserole, beans, lamb, etc back in the oven with a lid on. There is a hour left on the cooking time. Cook the lamb with the lid on for 45 minutes, stirring the beans occasionally. If using tinned borlotti, add them at this point. For the last fifteen, take the lid off. Finely chop the parsley.
Once the time is up, take it out of the oven and put the lamb on a carving board, with foil over the top to rest it, but keep it warm. Stir the beans, there may be too much liquid at this point, so put the casserole on the hob and reduce the liquid for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Take if off the heat and throw in the parsley. Take out the rosemary sprigs. Taste for salt and pepper. Carve the meat. Pour the cream over the dish and pour over 1 tbl of good olive oil, the oil and cream should separate slightly. Place the carved lamb on top. You are done. Serve with steamed savoy cabbage or French beans.