Hearty lamb, tomato and bean casseroles are a great favourite in France.
Soak the beans in plenty of cold water overnight. Next day heat the olive oil in a casserole, add the bacon and fry until crisp. Add the garlic and onions, toss for a minute or two, then add the diced carrots and celery, cover and sweat for a few minutes.
Meanwhile cut the lamb into 4cm cubes; toss in a little olive oil in a hot pan until the meat changes colour, add to the vegetables with the chopped tomatoes and drained beans. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar. Add the bouquet of herbs, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1–1 ½ hours depending on the age of the lamb. Taste, correct the seasoning, remove the bouquet garni and serve in an earthenware dish. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
© 2001 Darina Allen. All rights reserved.