Fagioli with Lamb and Prunes

Fagioli with Lamb and Prunes

This recipe is a relatively easy version of one that evolved from several recipes. It has two components prepared separately (beans and lamb), which are then combined to finish the dish. The prunes are a key ingredient, with related notes in many Italian wines, such as Brunello, Sagrantino and Amarone.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs of dried white beans
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1 quart of beef broth
  • 1 whole onion
  • Bouquet garni (4 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf, 1 garlic clove in a cheesecloth
  • 1.5 lbs of ground lamb shoulder
  • 1 cup of chopped onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1/2 bottle of dry red wine
  • 2 teaspoons of thyme
  • 8 oz of chopped prunes
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Rinse the beans thoroughly, put them in a large pot and add three quarts of water. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and let stand for one hour (alternatively, let the beans soak overnight).
  2. Add the beef broth, whole onion, bouquet garni, 2/3 teaspoon of thyme and bring to a boil. Skim off any scum that forms on the surface. Simmer for about one hour until the beans are barely tender but not done (they will be cooked more at the end).
  3. Discard the bouquet and onion, drain the beans, keeping the cooking fluid for later.
  4. In a large skillet heated to medium high, brown the lamb in batches.
  5. Once the lamb is done and set aside, place the chopped onions in the pan and sauté for a few minutes, add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Add the parsley, ¾ of a teaspoon of thyme and the wine. Put the lamb back in the pan, add the prunes, cover and simmer over low heat for twenty minutes. Salt and pepper as needed.
  6. In a large Casserole dish, mix the beans and the mélange from the pan (from step 5).
  7. Add liquid from the beans, up to the top of the mixture. It’s now ready for the final stage, but can be refrigerated for later.
  8. Bake, covered, in the oven at 350oF for an hour (more if it’s coming from the refrigerator) and, if it seems dry, add more of the liquid from the beans.
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Pairings

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