What’s for Sunday Dinner – Braised Leg of Lamb with White Beans

With all the turkey, stews, soups, and pork we’ve been eating lately I decided to change it up a bit and make a leg of lamb.  I saw there was a boneless one on sale at the market so I grabbed it.  A boneless leg of lamb is nice because you can stuff it with all sorts or herbs and mixtures.  I hadn’t cooked one in a long while so this was going to be fun.  Since I needed to reacquaint myself with preparing one I went to my stack of cookbooks and pulled out one I knew would have a good recipe: Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. 

This cookbook is actually Cheryl’s, she got it as a gift during business school at Virginia and I was pretty excited about it.  It’s a good cookbook and I feel if you really like cooking at home your kitchen library isn’t complete without it.  I don’t turn to it as often as I could but it’s nice to be able to reach for Julia when you hit a creative wall and know everything will be alright…and delicious.  It’s a classic.  So tonight we’re going old school, and channeling our inner Julia Child French chef.

Post dinner Roam: The beans were absolutely delicious!  Tender but firm and were seasoned nicely from the salted water.  I might even be tempted to say the beans were more of a star than the lamb, and the lamb was pull apart tender.  A solid dish!

For the herb stuffing:

  • ½ C chopped parsley
  • ½ tsp ground rosemary or thyme
  • 2 Tbs minced shallots or green onions
  • ½-1 whole clove of mashed garlic
  • ¼ tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients in bowl, spread mixture inside the cavity where the bone was, roll up and tie with kitchen string.

For the beans:

  • 2 ½ C dry white Great Northern beans
  • 6 ½ C water
  • 1 ½ Tbs salt

Bring water to boil, add beans.  Bring back to boil and allow to boil for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and cover.  Allow to soak for 1 hour.  After soak time is up add salt and simmer on med-low heat for 1 hour.  [Side Roam: Julia says simmer for an hour but knowing my beans I know this is way too long if you’re going to let them finish cooking in the braise.  More like ½ hour to 40 mins.]  Take off burner and set aside.

For the lamb:

  • 3-4 lb boneless leg or shoulder of lamb
  • 3-4 Tbs rendered pork fat or cooking oil
  • 2 large carrots sliced
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • 2 C dry white or red wine (or 1 ½ C dry vermouth)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 3-4 C beef stock
  • 4 parsley sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp rosemary, thyme or sage
  • 3 unpeeled cloves garlic

Pre-heat oven to 350°

In a large braising dish/casserole heat the fat or oil over med-high heat.  Brown the rolled/stuffed lamb on all sides.  When browned set aside on a platter.

Add the onions and carrots and brown for 2-3 minutes.  Remove to platter with rolled/stuffed lamb.  Drain fat from the pan.

Add wine, deglaze pan, bring to simmer and reduce by half.

Season lamb and place fatty side up in the casserole/pan.

Surround with vegetables and pour in enough stock to come 2/3 of the way up the lamb.

Stir in herbs and garlic.

Bring to simmer on the stove top.

Cover with lid or aluminum foil and place in pre-heated oven.

Turn and baste the meat every 30 mins.

Braise for between 40-50 minutes per pound.  A 4 lb boneless stuffed leg should take about 3 hours [Side Roam: it did].

When the lamb has about a 1/2 hour to go it’s time to add the white beans.  Remove lamb from braising liquid, degrease and strain the stock.  Return the stock and lamb to the casserole and surround the meat with the drained beans.

Bring back to simmer on the stove top and put back in the oven for another half hour.

Remove lamb from casserole, cut off strings and set on platter [or shred/slice meat then put on platter].  Strain beans and arrange around meat.  Degrease and season sauce, put in gravy boat or pour over meat.

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