Lamb Casserole with Olives

Agnello alle Olive

This recipe is taken from La Cucina Molisana, by Anna Maria Lombardi and Rita Mastropaolo of Campobasso. Their book, in two thick volumes, is one of my most treasured possessions and I reproduce their recipe here with their kind permission. The authors state: ‘For lamb to be good it has to have the golden tooth, in other words it has to have eaten deliciously strong-tasting mountain herbs which only real shepherds know about.’

Serve this dish with plenty of vegetables and bread.

Ingredients

  • lb (1.2 kg) leg of lamb, boned and cut into small cubes
  • 1 wine glass olive oil
  • 1 thick slice belly pork, cut into small strips
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • salt
  • 1 red chilli pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 handful black olives, stoned

Method

Trim the meat carefully. Pour the oil into a wide, shallow, flameproof casserole and arrange the cubed meat in the dish with the belly pork and the garlic. Cook over a high heat for a few minutes to seal the meat, then add the wine. Let the alcohol fumes evaporate for 2–3 minutes, then add salt and cover. Simmer for about 30 minutes, then add the chilli and the olives and stir. Transfer to a pre-heated oven at gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C), and cook for another 30 minutes. Serve at once, straight from the casserole.

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