Ask your butcher to cut off the knuckle end of the shoulder but keep it. (This makes it easier to fit in a casserole.) Put both pieces of the shoulder in a good ovenware pot. Cover with the beans and their liquid, the wine, onions and shallots roughly chopped, the tomatoes and the purée, the garlic, several crushed peppercorns and salt to taste. Tuck in the bay leaves and the rosemary.
The first 4 hours can be done the day before and is really no trouble. I would also add some anchovies, which are excellent with lamb; you cannot actually taste them but they have a very enhancing effect on the flavour. Black olives are another good addition. At the end of cooking, the meat will drop off the bone and all the fat will have disappeared into the vegetables in some miraculous manner. Serve in good, big old–fashioned soup plates. For accompaniment this dish requires nothing more than a vast, crisp green salad and a good crust of bread.
© 1996 Jennifer Paterson. All rights reserved.