A classic French dish, very sustaining.
1 leg of lamb
thyme & rosemary
2 tbs olive oil
2 large onions
2 cloves garlic
2 oz ham or bacon fat
1 glass red wine
1 tbs flour
1 tbs tomato puree
1 lb haricot beans
Soak the haricot beans overnight. Rub the skin of the joint with salt, pour some olive oil and lemon juice over it, and leave overnight.
The next day, cook the beans in fresh water for about an hour and a half (until just tender) – keep the cooking water on one side when done. Put the meat in a large fireproof dish (not a roasting tin), pour over the oil and lemon juice in which it has been lying, add a little more oil, some thyme and rosemary, and the peeled garlic cloves. Start roasting in a moderate oven about an hour and a half before you want to eat it.
Meanwhile, cut the onions in half, slice them, and fry in bacon fat until they begin to brown. Sprinkle with flour and cook a bit longer, stirring so it doesn’t stick too much. Add salt and the red wine and let it bubble and thicken, scraping the bottom of the pan. Stir in some of the bean water and the tomato puree, add the beans and simmer gently for as long as is convenient (10 minutes will do). Add more bean stock if it seems too thick. When the joint has roasted for an hour, pour the beans into the dish, distribute them round the lamb, and cover with breadcrumbs. Cook for a further half hour and sprinkle with parsley before serving. If you are feeling really piggy, you can have gratin dauphinois with it. To drink, we recommend a bottle of Camplong Fontbories (but then we would, wouldn’t we?).
Note: if you want, you can do all the bean-cooking beforehand.