The recipe has the option of adding spinach to the beans – if you do this then this recipe can be an entire meal in itself but, if you want some accompaniments, then serve with new potatoes tossed in olive oil, rosemary and salt and roasted in the oven along with a pile of spring greens.
1.2 – 2.4 kg lamb shoulder on the bone (1.2kg will feed 4 adults, 2.4kg will feed 6 adults plus kids)
Splash of oil
3 sprigs of rosemary or lemon thyme if available, leaves removed from stems and finely chopped
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 large leek, trimmed, washed and sliced
3 sticks of celery, trimmed, washed and sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large bulb garlic, peeled and roughly crushed
2-3 x 400g tins flageolet beans
350ml white wine
400ml stock, veg or meat
180-200g baby spinach (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200/190fan/gas6.
- Put the lamb in a deep oven tray, rub with oil then scatter the rosemary or thyme over the top.
- Season the meat well then put it in the hot oven to brown for about 20 minutes.
- While the meat is browning, heat a splash of oil in a large heavy based pan over a medium high heat.
- Add the onions, let them sizzle for a moment then turn down the heat and allow them to soften gently for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- After 20 minutes remove the lamb from the oven and lift out of the tray.
- Pour any fat or juices from the lamb onto the onions.
- Turn the oven down to 150, put the lamb back on the oven tray and return the meat.
- Add the rest of the vegetables to the onions and increase the heat.
- Stir the vegetables until they start to soften and wilt then decrease the heat and cook for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
- Increase the heat, add the wine, bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes then add the beans, the stock and the bayleaf.
- Bring back to a simmer, season to taste and leave to bubble while you take out the lamb again.
- Lift the meat from the oven tray and pour in the beans.
- Stir the beans thoroughly then put the lamb on top.
- Return the tray to the oven and leave to cook at 150 for 1½ – 2½ hours, depending on the size of shoulder. By the end of cooking the meat should be falling off the bone.
- When ready, lift the lamb out and leave to rest on a plate in a warm place.
Return the beans to the saucepan, stir in the spinach and allow to wilt – the beans will sit happily on the lowest heat for up to half an hour.
- Use 2 forks to tear the lamb apart and serve on a helping of beans.
Looking for a dessert to go with your Easter meal? This chocolate cheesecake is the ideal Easter pud.