Our extended Easter break was just what the doctor ordered. I really did sit still for many hours on end. Bliss.
The bonus was sister hiring the house next door. The real bonus was that said house had SKY TV – mean mummy that I am doesn’t do kid telly in our house, so hard done by Master Three was very quick to nip next door whenever he could. Having to cook the odd dinner in return seemed easy in comparison to minding seven children!
One of my favourite go to meals, when time is at hand, is slow cooked lamb. A strange thing coming from a semi-vegetarian I know. It’s probably the meal that turned me into the chose-a-tarian I am today.
This is an amalgamation of various recipes I’ve played with. On this day it was about what I had hanging around at the bach (other than the lamb, that you’ll be pleased to know was bought fresh). Quantities are approximate. Mine tastes slightly different, but melt in the mouth divine, every time. It’s ideal to set aside 4-5 hours to make this. The preparation doesn’t take long, the cooking does. Of course you can use the time in between to enjoy a glass or two of wine.
What you’ll need
Olive oil (I used rice bran in this instance)
3-4 onions, roughly chopped
1-2 leeks, washed and chopped
3 cans butter beans (I used two of butter beans and one chick peas), drained and rinsed
1.5kg leg of lamb, bone in (I think the one I used was 1.2-1.3kg), chop off any excess fat, but leave some on
Load of garlic – about 15 plus cloves, peeled
Optional, if you have it: a stalk of rosemary and small bunch of fresh mint
Freshly ground pepper
250ml chicken stock
Red wine – generous splash
To make it
Heat a splash of oil in a fry pan and sweat the onion for about five minutes. Add the leek and cook for another ten or so minutes until lovely and soft. Mix from time to time. You want to sweat it rather than turn it brown.
Turn the oven to the hottest temperature. Take the onion mix off the stove and mix through the beans. Put into a baking dish large enough to also fit in the lamb (I used one that worked as a serving dish as well). Scatter in the herbs.
Wipe out the fry pan and heat another splash of oil. Brown the lamb all over. Pierce holes all over the meat and plug with garlic. Season with salt and pepper and lay the meat on top of the onion/bean mixture. Pour the chicken stock into the baking dish and splash a generous glug of wine over the meat.
Put the dish into the oven and turn down to 130-140C. The longer you have to cook, the lower the temperature. After two hours, turn the meat over and give it another splash of wine.
After 3 1/2-4 hours (or even 5 hours if you cook 120-130C), remove from the oven and cover the meat with foil for 20 minutes.
Remove the foil and use a fork to pull the meat from the bone. Serve hot with veges. Left overs are great the next day in pita bread, although it’s rare to have much left after everyone has had seconds and thirds.
I know lamb can be expensive but this goes a long way and is a great treat for when legs of lamb are on special. You won’t regret making it!