This was traditionally made with mutton and it’s just as good with hogget or lamb – but not spring lamb. It’s really a French version of Lancashire hotpot and a good hearty, healthy meal, all in one pot.
- 500g dried haricot beans
- 2 onions, peeled and diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 bouquets garnis
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1.2kg boned lamb neck or shoulder, cut into 4cm pieces
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Soak the beans in cold water overnight. Drain them, put them in a pan with half the diced onions and the bay leaf, then cover generously with cold water. Add 2 of the garlic cloves and a bouquet garni and bring to the boil. Simmer for 45 minutes or until almost tender – the beans will be cooked again later. Drain the beans and set them and the cooking liquid aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and sear the meat until golden. It’s best to do this in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Remove each batch as it is browned.
Discard any fat in the pan. Add the rest of the oil and cook the remaining onion and garlic with the carrots over a medium heat until lightly coloured.
Add the tomato paste and the remaining bouquet garni and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan well. Put the meat back in the pan with enough of the bean cooking liquid to cover. Season, cover the pan and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Add the beans with more water if needed and simmer for a further 30 minutes. Serve in wide bowls.
The French Revolution by Michel Roux Jr, Seven Dials, £25.