Revithia me Arni sto Fourno

Baked Chickpea and Lamb Stew

THIS HEARTY one-pot meal comes from the island of Lesbos, in the eastern Aegean, although similar dishes can be found on Crete and other islands. It is a delicious variation on Baked Lamb with Pasta in Tomato Sauce, a classic dish throughout Greece.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water and drained
  • 4 cups beef stock or Chicken Stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 3-to-3½-pound boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of most fat and cut into 6–8 slices
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 4 tomatoes, cored, peeled and chopped
  • cups dry red wine
  • 10 garlic cloves: 5 minced and 5 cut into slivers
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1–2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper or ½–1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 pound spicy garlic sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Method

Place the chickpeas in a large pot and add cold water to cover by at least 4 inches. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and set aside for at least 6 hours. (This extra step considerably reduces the discomfort many people experience from eating dried beans, but you may omit it if you don’t have time.)

Drain the chickpeas and return to the pot. Add the stock and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until tender.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a large skillet, heat ½ cup of the oil over medium-high heat and brown the lamb, in batches, until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the lamb to a large bowl and set aside.

Add the onions to the skillet and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the tomatoes, wine, minced garlic, tomato paste and pepper or pepper flakes and cook over high heat for 2 minutes, or until the juices have reduced slightly and thickened. Remove from the heat.

Make several slits in each piece of lamb and insert the garlic slivers. Place the lamb in a large roasting pan, sprinkle with the oregano and pour the tomato sauce over it. Bake for 1 hour, basting the lamb frequently with the sauce. Transfer the lamb to a plate, cover and keep warm.

Drain the chickpeas, reserving the cooking liquid. Add the chickpeas, sausage, 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid, the remaining ½ cup oil and salt and pepper to taste to the roasting pan and stir well. Season the lamb with salt to taste and return to the pan, spooning the chickpeas over it. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes longer, adding more reserved cooking liquid if the chickpeas begin to dry out, until the lamb is tender. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

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