This is a minimalist Provencal Lamb Casserole which is easy to prepare and its hearty ingredients are perfect for cold weather meals. The lamb is braised in a white wine and anchovy stock while the gamey flavour of the meat is tempered with lots of garlic and herbs. The other main ingredient of this rustic Mediterranean dish is eggplant.
- Lamb Belly (500g)
- Eggplant (1)
- Shallots (6)
- Garlic (2 bulbs)
- Anchovy In Oil (25g)
- White Wine (3/4 cup)
- Bread (2 slices)
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Peel the garlic bulbs into cloves and peel the shallots but leave them whole.
- If your lamb belly doesn’t come as cubes, cut them into cubes. Put the lamb into a zip lock bag and spoon in 2T(heaped) of flour. Shake until the lamb is evenly coated in the flour.
- Heat up a frying pan with 3T of oil. Brown the lamb in the pan a few pieces at a time and then arrange the pieces of meat into a casserole dish.
- Push half the garlic cloves and all the shallots snugly between the pieces of meat as shown.
- Pan fry 25g (about 1T) of anchovy in its own oil, in the same pan you used to brown the lamb without washing it. Mash us the anchovy until it is a fine suspension and deglaze with 3/4 cup of white wine. Add 2T of pesto, 1t of worcestershire sauce, 1t of sugar, 1t mustard and 1t of oregano. Pour in 1/2 a cup of water. Bring to a simmer for 1 minute. This will be the braising liquid.
- Preheat the oven to 200oC (390oF).
- Pour the braising liquid into the casserole.
- Slice the eggplant and arrange the slices over the lamb in the casserole.
- Cover the casserole and place it in the oven for 2 hours. After half an hour reduce the temperature to 150oC (300oF).
- Lightly toast 2 slices of sandwich bread. Cut the toast into mini croutons.
- Mince the remaining garlic cloves in a garlic press.
- Fry the minced garlic in a pan with 3T oil on low heat until it stops clumping together. At this stage add the bread and stir fry until the croutons are crispy and a nice shade of golden brown as shown. Leave to cool in the pan.
- With 10 minutes to go on the baking time, take the casserole out and sprinkle on some black pepper and all the garlic croutons. Return to the oven uncovered for the last 10 minutes.
- Serve the lamb in the casserole dish directly from the oven to table.
- This lamb casserole is not meant to be eaten by itself. You should serve it with a separately cooked staple, like potatoes or polenta.
- While the Provencal Style is French, it has some similarity with Italian and Greek cuisine because they all share the same Mediterranean climate.
- You can consider crushing the croutons into breadcrumbs after they cool. Its a trade off. You will lose some of the crunch of the bread, but it give a nice appealing look to the casserole. To accompany this look you can also slice the eggplant thin and arrange the slices in a ratatouille style overlapping spiral.