Leg of Lamb with Gigandes and Tomatoes

Boneless Leg is Easiest

Spectacular aromas emanate from the combined roasting of lamb, tomato, beans, garlic and onions. I am always proud to serve this surprising hit. While not difficult, this recipe is time-consuming (aren't most great things?) Make the beans and tomatoes early in the day to help alleviate pre-dinnertime preparation. Menu Ideas? A simple salad or steamed green asparagus with Curried Mayonnaise balances the meal. - j
1 pound gigandes or large white navy beans
2 bay leaves
1 medium onion peeled, left whole
8 sprigs of thyme, tied in a bundle (or 1 teaspoon dried leaves)
2 teaspoons salt

tomatoes and onions
6 cups chopped tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)

1 butterflied boneless half leg of lamb, 3.5 to 4 pounds
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large cloves garlic, cut into slivers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Process beans: Rinse, then cover beans with water 1 inch over the top. Soak overnight. Alternatively, do a quick-soak-cook. Bring beans to a boil. After two minutes remove from heat and rest for one hour.

2 Drain, then add fresh water up to half an inch over the beans. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Add bay leaves, whole onion, and thyme sprigs and cook on low heat for 20 min. Skim off any foam.

3 Add salt and cook until beans are near tender, about 45 minutes. Beans can hold for 8 hours.

4 Make tomato sauce: Melt butter in 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 500°F. Mix together in bowl thyme, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. Set garlic seasoning bowl aside.

6 If lamb has been tied, untie and unroll meat. Trim any excess fat. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on the inside. Roll and tie with kitchen twine. Using the point of a sharp knife, make small incisions in lamb and insert garlic slivers. Place lamb in roasting pan.

7 Reduce oven temperature to 400°F and place lamb roasting pan in oven. Cook uncovered for 40 to 50 minutes until lamb reaches 110°F internal temperature. Spread garlic seasoning over lamb. Roast 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. Phipps Country Store is a good source for gigandes. You can substitute white navy beans. Recipe adapted from Patricia Wells "Gigot Aux Chevriers Le Mont-Saint-Michel" in The Food Lover's Guide to France.

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