Spring. Lamb. Lovely light beans. You do the math.
I make this every year, always with some kind of variation. My trend these days is to cook everything very simply, and this stew is no exception. I insist you make it with 2 onions. They have lots of time to reduce and add their sweet but never cloying joy.
I now have access to endless Meyers lemons but regular ones will do. The lemons are ideal to cut the richness of the lamb stew.
I made this to serve for three one Sunday supper. I asked how many we could serve and if you are normal, I would guess almost six people but we are “robust” eaters in my family and everyone had seconds, except Nico, who went in for thirds. There was still a bit left over, but not much.
Recipe: Lamb and Flageolet Stew
1/2 pound Rancho Gordo Flageolet beans
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons sunflower or grapeseed oil
1 pound lamb stewing meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 yellow onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups stock, water, bean broth or a combination of any of them
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper
Fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Lemon wedges for garnish
Check the flageolet for organic debris. Rinse thoroughly in plenty of fresh water.
In a large pot, add the beans, bay and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a full boil and allow to continue for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and maintain a gentle simmer until the beans are soft. Use a lid to help control the heat.
Meanwhile, in a heavy pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat until it’s just rippling. Dredge the lamb in flour and brown on all sides in the oil in batches, about 8 to 10 minutes each. Remove the lamb and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook the onions and garlic until soft, about 15 minutes. Add the lamb back to the pot along with the thyme, broth and salt and pepper. Cook on medium-low heat until the meat is fork-cut soft, about 2 hours (the lower and longer, the better). Add more liquid if needed. Use the lid to maintain a low, slow heat.
Once the lamb is soft, gently fold the beans into the lamb mixture. Continue to cook for 20 minutes. The stew should be somewhat rich and thick.
Adjust the seasoning, if needed. Scatter the parsley over the top and serve with lemon wedges.