Roast Rump of Lamb, Flageolet Purée and Balsamic Dressing


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Formulas for Flavour

By John Campbell

Published 2001

  • About

In France, roast lamb and flageolet beans are considered perfect partners. The twist to this dish is the sauce, a combination of flavours that not only excites the palate but sharpens the unctuousness of the lamb and offers a subtle sweetness to offset the acid in the tomatoes. The sweet, sour, salty and bitter taste receptors in the tongue are all stimulated, creóting an unusual sensation on the palate.


Shallot Purée

  • 6 large shallots, unpeeled
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • a splash of olive oil


    For the Shallot Purée

    Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Place the shallots, garlic, thyme and olive oil on a 30cm/12in square piece of foil. Fold over to make a bag and seal the edges. Place the bag on a baking tray and place cook for 25-30 minutes until the shallots are soft and fully cooked inside. Set aside to cool.

    Trim off the skin from the shallots (1). Discard the rest of the ingredients. Place the shallots in a food processor and purée to a smooth pulp. If it is very runny, place it in a saucepan and cook until thick, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula to prevent burning — be careful to remove all purée from the corners of the pan while reducing (2).

    If making this 1-2 days before serving, place the reduced purée in a covered container in the fridge; alternatively, keep it warm for service.

    For the Flageolet Purée

    Soak the beans overnight. Next day, rinse in cold water and place in a saucepan over medium heat with the stock, bacon, carrot, shallot, garlic and thyme. Simmer for 20 minutes.

    Add the salt and cook the flageolet for a further 30 minutes until tender. If the liquid starts to reduce too much during cooking and no longer covers the flageolet, top up with filtered water.

    Leave the beans to cool in the cooking liquor. When cold, strain off and reserve the liquid. Remove and discard the garlic.

    Place the beans and other ingredients in a food processor and liquidize until very smooth, adding the retained liquor if the consistency appears too thick (3). When the beans are the consistency of wet mashed potato, either place the mixture in an airtight container and store in the fridge overnight, or keep warm until ready to serve.

    For the Salsify

    In a saucepan, place 1 litre/ pints/ cups water. Squeeze in the lemon juice and whisk in the flour until it has dissolved. This is called a blanc. Bring it to the boil, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens slightly.

    Meanwhile, peel the salsify, trim off any blemishes and cut in half (4). Cook it in the blanc for 12-15 minutes until it is just soft in the centre. Allow the salsify to cool slightly in the cooking liquid, then remove it and trim into 18 equal pieces (5). Store in a covered container in the fridge.

    For the Fondant Potato

    Heat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas 3. Peel the potatoes and cut into slabs approximately 4cm/1 ½in thick. Using a round pastry cutter, cut the slabs of potato into 5cm/2in circles and trim off the sharp edges (5).

    In an ovenproof saucepan, heat the corn oil over a medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and garlic and brown the potatoes on one side, taking care not to scorch them. Turn the potatoes over when golden brown and add the butter, water and seasoning. Bring to a simmer, then transfer to the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the centre of the potatoes is soft.

    Remove from the oven and leave the potatoes to soak up the butter for about 1 hour. If the water in the pan has evaporated and only butter is left, top up the pan with hot water.

    For the Balsamic Dressing

    In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients for the balsamic dressing and bring to simmering point. Immediately remove from the heat, cover with plastic wrap and leave to infuse for 30 minutes before serving.

    To Complete

    Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Place a large frying pan on the stove over a medium-high heat and add the oil.

    Season the lamb with salt and pepper and place in the pan 2 at a time, fat-side down. Cook until golden brown on the fatty side, then turn over and seal the meat side (6).

    When all the lamb is sealed, place it on a wire rack over a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 12-13 minutes, turning occasionally. Test the lamb for doneness by using the finger and thumb technique.

    Meanwhile, drain the potatoes and keep warm. Place the confit of garlic in the oven for 3 minutes to heat through.

    In a saucepan, reheat the flageolet purée and, in a separate pan, reheat the salsify in a little butter. Check the seasoning of each dish component.

    When the lamb is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave to rest in a warm place for 7-10 minutes. While it is resting, place the spinach in a saucepan with a little butter and wilt. Drain well and place it on the serving plates. Top with the fondant potato, shallot purée and confit of garlic.

    Warm the dressing through quickly. Spoon the flageolet purée onto the plates and cross it with the salsify. Carve the lamb (7), arrange it on the plate and pour the dressing over, giving each plate an equal serving.