To make a classic lamb casserole for six, you will need the following:
- 1,5kg stewing lamb (or mutton or young goat)
- 4 tablespoons (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 4 lemons
- 3 onions
- 3 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ½ teaspoon each of fennel seeds and fresh rosemary
- 1 cup (235ml) chicken stock
- 1 cup (235ml) dry white wine
- 2 cans of white beans
- 2 tablespoons (10g) white flour
- Salt and coarsely ground black pepper on demand
- A couple of sprigs of fresh parsley
We begin with the meat, which should be bone-free. Cut the lamb, mutton or goat into smallish cubes of similar size to ensure even cooking.
Squeeze two lemons, dump the pips and use the juice plus a teaspoon (5g) of freshly ground black pepper to marinade the meat for three hours.
Select a 2ℓ oven-proof casserole dish and heat up two tablespoons (30ml) of the extra virgin olive oil to medium heat. Dry the marinaded meat cubes on paper towels and sear them in the hot oil until they are browned on all sides.
Do this in four batches to avoid reducing the temperature of the oil. Remove and reserve under cover as the browning progresses.
Peel and thinly slice the onions, cut the carrots and celery into long, thin slices, peel and finely chop the garlic, crush the fennel in a mortar with a pestle, and chop the fresh rosemary leaves.
Pour the rest of the olive oil into the casserole and stir-fry them until they are browned.
Add the flour, stirring it in. Then add the fennel and rosemary. Pour in the wine and chicken stock and bring the contents up to a simmer.
Drain the cans of white beans and add them to the casserole. Carefully add the browned meat sections and gently stir the pot to evenly distribute the many ingredients.
Do a simple taste test for salt and pepper, then fit the lid and let the casserole simmer for 90 to 120 minutes or until the meat is done to your taste, adding extra chicken stock if the contents look a little dry.
Chop the fresh parsley and sprinkle a little over each serving as a garnish.
Provide quartered fresh lemons for each diner. Serve with buttered mashed sweet or regular potatoes. Basmati rice adds its own special magic to the meal, as does couscous or even the pasta of your choice.
David Basckin is a freelance journalist and videographer.