Leg of Lamb with White Beans Mont-Saint-Michel


Roasting lamb, garlic, onions with tomato and beans perfumes the kitchen with aromas always making me proud to serve this surprising hit. While not difficult, this recipe is time-consuming. Make the beans and tomatoes early in the day to help alleviate pre-dinnertime preparation. Menu Ideas? Steamed green asparagus with Curried Mayonnaise balances the meal. -m&j
beans (90 minutes)
1 pound large white beans - flageolet, gigandes, or great white northern
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion peeled, left whole
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (2 sprigs)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

tomatoes and onions (30 minutes)
6 cups chopped tomatoes (about 10, 2 pounds)
1 1/2 cup chopped onions (about 2)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (2 sprigs)

lamb (90 minutes)
1 butterflied boneless half leg of lamb, 4 pounds, 6 pounds with bone
salt and pepper to taste +
6 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons thyme leaves (about 6 sprigs)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Process beans: Rinse beans. Add to stock pot and fill with warm water two inches over beans. Cover, and set outside, overnight.

2 Drain, then add fresh water up to one inch over the beans. Bring to 2 minute boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add bay leaf, whole onion, and thyme sprigs. Cook over low heat for 30 min. Skim off any foam.

3 Remove bay leaves. Add salt, sugar. Simmer until beans are tender, about 50 minutes. Watch to not overcook or beans will turn into mush. Drain most of water off. Set aside.

* (Or an alternative process for beans is by a quick-soak-cook. Bring beans to a 2 minute boil. Add rest of ingredients and simmer for 60-90 minutes, watching to keep tender not mushy.)

4 Make tomato sauce: Melt butter in a large deep skillet over low heat. Add onions, garlic, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often until onions are soft and golden. Do not let brown. Add tomatoes and thyme to skillet cooking 7 minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper, and set aside. Tomato-onion sauce can hold for 8 hours.

5 Prepare lamb: Preheat oven to 450°F. In a bowl mix together minced garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Set garlic-thyme bowl aside.

6 If lamb has been tied, untie and unroll meat. Trim any excess fat and toss in roast pan. Score fat back. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roll and tie with kitchen twine. Place lamb in roasting pan.

7 Place lamb in oven. Roast for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and cook 40 minutes until lamb reaches 110°F internal temperature. Spread garlic seasoning over lamb. Roast for 10 minutes more.

8 Meanwhile, combine beans and tomato-onion sauce and gently warm.

9 Watch to remove lamb from oven. Remove when internal temperature reaches at 120°F for medium rare or 130°F for medium. Remember, it will continue to cook as it rests. Place lamb on serving platter to stand for 10 minutes.

10 Add bean-tomato-onion mixture to lamb roasting pan, scraping up any brown bits clinging to the pan. Stir in butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon this pan mixture around lamb and serve.

11 Slice lamb at table, serve with a generous scoop of bean-tomato mix.

servings  use metric
original recipe yield: 8 Servings
Notes NOTE On Beans. Fresh beans really improve the quality. Phipps Country Store is a good source for gigandes. Another refinement is to lace lamb with extra garlic (1 sliced clove) and thyme (2 chopped sprigs). Using the point of a sharp knife, make small incisions in lamb and fat layer. Insert garlic slivers and whole thyme - stem and all.
Recipe adapted from Patricia Wells "Gigot Aux Chevriers Le Mont-Saint-Michel" in The Food Lover's Guide to France.

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