Lamb Casserole for two

I read a posting today that reminded me of my own recipe for something that’s vaguely cassoulet-ish. It’s neither authentic nor traditional but tasty just the same. If you want to add some cut up sausage it would be a good addition. Or add some shredded duck confit. Or put in whatever you want, I give you permission.

Lamb Casserole for two

2 lamb shoulder chops, boned and cubed (leg works but dries out a bit)
1 14.5 oz can of white beans, drained and washed (cannellini, preferred)
1 14.5 oz can of chopped tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine (white vermouth is what I usually use, but if you have wine open, use that)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 small sprig fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp chopped parsley
a small piece of salt pork or a slice of bacon (optional)
1/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Prepare individual gratin dishes or a small (3-4 cup) baking dish, by spraying with olive oil spray or other cooking spray.

In a medium sized sauce pan: if using salt pork or bacon, sauté over medium heat until all the fat is rendered. Remove and reserve the crisp meat. Otherwise heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan.

Raise heat to medium high and add the lamb. Sauté until browned on all sides. Remove and reserve.

Add the onion and garlic, add a pinch of salt & pepper. Sauté until soft. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add chicken stock, thyme, beans, tomatoes, and parsley. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes, until the beans soften just a little and all the flavors come together.  If you’re in a hurry, simmer another 10 minutes, this will reduce the baking time. Add the lamb and salt pork/bacon. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the mixture into the baking dishes. Top with the bread crumbs and spray or drizzle a little olive oil on the crumbs.

Put into the oven and bake until golden brown and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 30 – 60 minutes. The beans should be very soft, with maybe some of them falling apart. That’s up to your taste. I like them to get a little creamy. Let them sit a few minutes before serving. If you want to gild the lily, drizzle with a little olive oil before serving.

If the breadcrumbs aren’t browned up at the end, put the dishes under the broiler for a couple of minutes.

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