Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Melt in the mouth - Lamb and risoni casserole

I love how the seasons influence our garden. Like in Summer our garden is filled with enough lettuce to feed about 100 hungry guinea pigs! and now in Winter, there is one lettuce left wondering where the hell the sun got too.... Turnips are in abundance at the moment. I've added them to my minestrone soup and my roast sausages with veg and they have tasted out of this world! I thought it was about time to create a casserole with a few of my favourite things: lamb, risoni, beans and of course hopefully get through some of the turnips that could quite possibly feed oooh, 1000 hungry guinea pigs.


350g carrots, chopped into chunks
3 brown onions, peeled but left whole. (You could use eshallots if you like)
8 small turnips, left whole or 3 large turnips cut in half
2 sprigs of thyme
1 bayleaf
a few peppercorns
4 - 6 cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole
1 can of borlotti beans (or you could use cannelini beans or kidney beans)
1kg half roast lamb leg (no bone, fat intact)
200g - 400g piece of middle bacon (or you could use a sweet smoked ham portion or a ham hock cut into 3 pieces or you could omit and use a bacon stock instead of water)
1 cup risoni
250g green beans
salt and pepper

how to make your casserole

Pre heat oven to 170C. Pop some olive oil into a large pot over a lowish heat and throw in the first 7 ingredients, just to soften and to get the flavours going. Pop in the lamb and the bacon (if using)and cover with water. Not too much,as the end result will be too watery. Raise the heat and bring the water to the boil. Once boiling transfer to a large roasting dish. Mix through the beans, cover with foil and bake in the oven for 90 minutes. Take out and mix through risoni and green beans.Check seasonings and add salt and pepper if necessary. Cover with foil again and pop back in the oven for 10 minutes. When ready to serve, you can either discard the bacon or slice just a couple of pieces (1 per plate) as the hero of the dish is the lamb. The lamb will be absolutely delicious.It's up to you how you would like to serve it. Either plate it up or pop it all in a big dish and everyone helps themselves. You can strain the juices into a jug too so that people can drizzle a little over their meat if they wish. Serves 4

Enjoy on a cold night with a great glass of red.

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