Sunday, April 4, 2010

Lamb with Beans and the WINE

We had our Easter dinner last night. We went to early church this morning and are planning on playing a little golf this afternoon, so yesterday seemed just right for our lamb dinner.

After researching a lot as to just how I wanted to roast this lamb shoulder (slow and covered or high and uncovered), we settled on a version from Emeril Lagasse. Might change a few things next time, but we really enjoyed the lamb. Served the flageolet beans which we purchased from Rancho Gordo along side and grilled asparagus spears. The beans are so good. I always thought a dried bean was a dried bean, but these Rancho Gordo beans that I bought over the Internet are such winners. A little more pricey, but so very, very good.

Lamb Roasted with Garlic and Anchovies

3 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 canned anchovy fillets (we used anchovy paste)

5 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

4-5 pound leg of lamb or semi-boned sirloin

1 cup dry white wine

1/12 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves

In a small bowl, combine garlic, rosemary, 1 tablespoon salt, anchovies, 4 tablespoons olive oil and vinegar and stir to form a paste. (I would leave out the vinegar next time) Using a sharp knife, make evenly spaced deep slits all over the roast and stuff the slits with as much of the paste mixture as you can. Using your hands, rub any remaining paste all over the sides of the lamb and place in a baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the lamb from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Preheat over to 375 degrees F.

Remove the plastic wrap and add white wine and chicken stock to the bottom of the baking dish. (I really feel the wine was not necessary). Rub the lamb with remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper. Transfer to preheated oven and bake, uncovered, basting occasionally with the pan juices until the thickest part registers 130 to 140 degrees F for medium rare.

Remove from oven and let rest 10 to 15 minutes before carving. Serve garnished with chopped parsley and mint before serving.


1 cup dried flageolets or cannellini beans

olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and sliced

stock or bouillon cube

salt and pepper

Soak the beans overnight in twice their volume of water. Rinse and drain. Heat olive oil in a medium heavy-bottomed pot. Add the beans and onions and cook until the onions are soft.

Pour in cold stock to just cover, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 40-50 minutes or until the beans are tender. Season with salt 30 minutes into the cooking and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper just before serving.

And now, the wine. When we were in Siena, Italy, in 2001, we visited the regional wine store where only the best producers were allowed to offer their wines. Trout sat down with one of their knowledgeable staff and asked for 6 bottles of various Tuscany wines, to take home, that best characterized the various "terroirs" of the region. The 1995 Caparzo Brunello was selected for that region and carefully stored until last eve.

Brunellos only come from the small region in Tuscany called Brunello di Montalcino, home of the "brunello" variety of sangiovese grape and is highly sought after by collectors. It is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes and must be aged at least 2 years in wood barrels. This wine can be drunk immediately upon release but really improves if left to age for 10-20 years. Only about 600,000 cases are produced in regular and reserva bottlings with 200,000 finding their way to the USA. I paid $32 way back when for my bottle while expect to pay $50-100 a bottle now due to its relative scarcity and uniqueness.

Brunello is supposed to be more powerful, bolder and richer than the Vino Nobiles and Chianti Classicos nearby. It can be characterized in the usual terms of "crushed berries, light raisin, coffee, chocolate, tar, oak, tobacco, tannic," etc. etc..

We very much enjoyed out Brunello with the wonderful lamb roast. I let it breathe for an hour via our decanter. Would I pay $50 or more for Brunello vs $10-25 for an excellent Chianti Classico like Felsina, Banfi, etc.? Probably not, as I did not find this wine that much better, but it was a treat none the less. Maybe this was due to my under-educated palate for such rare wines.

My thanks to the Trout for the wine selection and for his write-up.


  1. Your dinner makes my mouth water. I LOVE lamb! How was the anchovie in there? Medium rare is so perfect.You are such a gourmet cook.

  2. The lamb and beans look like a perfect pairing, as does the wine. I would have been happy to eat at your table.

  3. This makes me want to redo Easter dinner!! I will bookmark it for preparing soon. I'll be back to enjoy more of your postings.



  4. It sounds like a feast to me. I hope you had a fantastic day and enjoyed that round of golf.

  5. Ah, now I am hungry for lamb which my mother always cooked more than I do...After the leg of lamb, we often had "redesigned" curried lamb with rice....Your blog tends to make me a little hungry!

  6. I've had mutton when I was a kid at my Grma's and lamb once, I'd be willing to give it a try again, you make it sound so so good!

  7. This recipe is a keeper, Susan. I love, love roast lamb and white beans.

    I've looked at Rancho Gordo's list of products, but haven't ordered. Thanks for the recommendation.

  8. Susan, I love the simplicity of this dinner. To me, it's far more interesting that massive feasts with butter and heavy cream laden foods...not that I wouldn't like it.
    I so love lamb, and wish my husband did. I made roasted asparagus, too, and I can't get enough of them! One of these days, I'm going to order Rancho Gorda beans. I never met a bean I didn't lie-- everything looks fantastic!

  9. I'm glad you like lamb like I do. It looks amazing with the beans. I've never cooked lamb with wine. It must be delicious.

    Have a wonderful evening!


  10. Anonymous1:38 PM

    Susan, I love lamb. Surprisingly, since I grew up on a farm I had never expeerienced the taste of it until many years after I first knew you. One of our neighbors used sheep to mow their huge lawn, not to eat! We certainly never considered that lamb was something to be eaten!

    You and Dale do know how to make the most marvelous meals. rw

  11. My mouth is watering thanks to your delicious recipe and pics. I love flagelots too!