I had a lamb and white bean dish at Salvio Volpe in Vancouver a few months back, and I’ve been craving it ever since. In a recent attempt to recreate that dish, I picked up some lamb shanks at Westgate Halal (9550 – 163 Street) in Edmonton, but also a package of lamb neck, too. I’ve never cooked lamb neck before, but I figured it would braise really well.
I looked for recipes for braised lamb and white beans, but nothing really grabbed my attention, so I winged it. I saved the shanks for another time and used the lamb neck, instead. All I did, really, was follow the basic tenets of braising: brown the meat, add vegetables and seasoning, add liquid and cook in the oven for 3 hours.
It worked. The dish—braised lamb neck with white beans—turned out fantastic.
You’ll need to soak the beans overnight (or use the quick soak method, although truth be told, I’ve never been impressed with that.)
Prep time is about 30 minutes, cooking time about 3 hours. This recipe gives you a good excuse to use your favourite Le Creuset or Staub pot. Once you put the pot in the oven you can relax: go read a book, have a glass or two of wine, because that pot ain’t going anywhere and your house is going to smell TERRIFIC, so just sit back and enjoy.
After 3 hours, I took out the meat but wasn’t happy with the doneness of the beans, so I let them cook for another hour. Perfecto. All I did then was scoop that gorgeous melange of beans and veg into a nice bowl, added some of the cooked lamb neck, and dug in.
What you’ll need: lamb neck, flour, salt and pepper, canola (or vegetable oil), onions, garlic, carrots, celery, fennel bulb, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and chicken stock.
The printable, neat and tidy recipe is near the bottom but here are the steps with photos:
Braised Lamb Neck with White Beans
- Large ovenproof pot
- 2 lbs Lamb neck Could use 2 lamb shanks, instead
- 3/4 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp neutral cooking oil canola or vegetable
- 1 lb dry white beans, soaked and drained will need to have soaked for at least 8 hours
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 fennel bulb, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 tbsp, dried
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 4 cups chicken stock
- salt and pepper to season afterwards if desired
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Pat dry the lamb neck and cut into pieces. Try to follow the joints. You'll need to remove the meat from the long horizontal bone, first. It's a bit tricky, but just do your best!
- Dredge in flour that's been seasoned with salt and pepper, set aside.
- Heat oil in pot on medium-high heat, add pieces and brown in batches until each piece has a nice golden brown colour (about 3-4 minutes per side). Remove meat and place in a separate dish.
- Add diced vegetables and garlic to the pot. There should be a bit of rendered lamb fat in there now, too. Sauté for a few minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add pre-soaked white beans, and stir to combine with vegetables.
- Season with 1 tsp each of salt and pepper, and add thyme, rosemary and bay leaf.
- Add lamb pieces back to the pot, pour in chicken stock, cover with lid and set in a 325 F pre-heated oven.
- Cook for at least 3 hours. Meat should be fall-off-tender. If beans are still tough, take the meat out, set aside in a dish, cover to keep warm, and cook beans for another hour.
- Plate, season with a bit of salt and pepper if desired, and enjoy.