Monday, December 6, 2010

Lamb Shank Cassoulet and Red Chard

Cassoulet is a is a rich, slow-cooked bean stew or casserole, originating in the south of France, containing meat (typically pork, sausage, duck or goose and sometimes lamb). If you like lamb, cook this dish. This is a relatively easy, slow-cook dish that is great for a cold winter day. The red chard is easily cooked in the final 10 minutes before serving. This dish is a lamb-lovers dream!

Lamb Shank Cassoulet
1 lb. Dried Navy Beans (Great Northern)
2 sprigs (6 inch) of Fresh Rosemary
Water to cover (about 6-8 cups)
4 Lamb Shanks
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 Clove Garlic, chopped
6 medium Carrots, peeled and large pieces
4 medium Parsnips, peeled and large pieces
2 medium Onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
½ Teaspoon Dried Thyme
½ Teaspoon Dried Mustard
½ Teaspoon Dried Tarragon
½ Teaspoon Celery Seed
½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
1-2 Teaspoon Salt to taste

Red Chard
1 Bunch Red Chard, coarsely chopped
1 Clove Garlic chopped
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt to taste

Place the dried Navy Beans and Rosemary in a large Dutch-oven or Cassoulet pot. Cover with water and allow to soak overnight. The next day, bring the pot to boil and cook the beans and rosemary, on low heat, for 30 minutes. Remove the rosemary stem and transfer the beans and cooking liquid to a large bowl. Rinse and dry the Dutch-oven and return it to the stove top. Sprinkle the lamb shanks with salt and pepper and brown on all sides (in the 3 tablespoons of olive oil) in the Dutch-oven, over medium high heat. Add the carrots, parsnips, garlic and onion to the pot along with all of the herbs, black pepper and some salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook an additional 10 minutes, occasionally stirring. Add the beans and cooking liquid to the pot, stir. The liquid should almost cover the lamb shanks, if not add another cup or two of water. Place the Dutch-oven in a 325 degree oven, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Reduce the oven to 275 degrees, cover the Dutch-oven, and cook an additional 3 to 4 hours (add salt if needed). In a separate pan, prepare Red Chard by sautéing in olive oil with garlic and salt for about 6-8 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of water, cover and remove from heat; wait 5 minutes. Serve as you wish, enjoy!