- Preparation time: 15 minutes
- Cooking time: 3 to 3.5 hours
- Total time: 3 hours 15 minutes to 3 hours 45 minutes
2 x packs 2 lamb leg shanks (each 350g) or 1.2–1.5kg half shoulder of lamb
3 tbsp olive oil
75g Waitrose 1 Free Range Air Dried Beech Smoked Bacon Lardons
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tbsp tomato purée
¼ x 20g pack thyme, plus extra to serve
2 bay leaves
250ml dry white wine
2 x 500ml pouches Cooks’ Ingredients Lamb Stock
2 x 400g cans haricot beans, drained and rinsed
75g Cooks’ Ingredients Soft White Breadcrumbs
Finely grated zest 1 unwaxed lemon
1. Season the lamb. Heat a flameproof casserole dish large enough to take the lamb in a single layer over a high heat. Add 2 tbsp of the oil, then fry the lamb for 4-5 minutes, until browned all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2. Add the remaining oil to the pan. Fry the bacon for 2 minutes until golden. Stir in the onions and garlic, cover with a lid, and leave to soften for 4-6 minutes. Mix in the tomato purée, all but 2 sprigs of thyme and the bay leaves. After a couple of minutes, add the wine. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes until reduced by two-thirds. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Return the lamb to the pan. Scrunch a piece of baking parchment into a ball, then unroll it and press over the meat to keep it submerged.
3. Reduce the heat to very low and leave to simmer for 2½-3 hours, turning the lamb halfway through, until tender. Remove the shanks from the pan with a slotted spoon. Cover and leave to rest, then remove the lamb from the bones and shred.
4. Skim off any excess fat from the sauce then increase the heat and boil vigorously for 10-15 minutes until reduced by half. Reduce the heat to medium and add the beans with the shredded lamb to the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes until piping hot. Season.
5. Meanwhile melt the butter in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the breadcrumbs, leaves from the remaining sprigs of thyme, and seasoning.
Cook, stirring often, until golden and crisp. Add the lemon zest. Serve the cassoulet sprinkled with the crumbs and extra thyme to garnish. Serve with fine green beans.