How to Roast a Lamb is written by chef and restauranteur Michael Psilakis of New York. I saw him in the fall on the Martha Stewart Show and decided that this was a book worth purchasing. As I mentioned before, I really don’t care for the title, but the contents deliver excellent meals. I took a few liberties with his recipe.
I am now fully committed to cooking beans in clay pots. It takes a bit more work, but the results are superb every time.
With the strange warm weather I am being seduced into thinking that we are through with winter. Spring just might be around the corner so here is a lovely menu for all those inclined to defy the groundhog. I loved the white gigantes beans as they are impressive, toothsome and tasty.
The first night I served the fasolada with a very simple roasted boneless leg of lamb with a pomegrante dried cherry reduction. We had leftover white beans and I served it as a soup with a fresh gremolata (recipe below) and feta cheese on top. It was outstanding in both presentations. This soup has just the right notes of herbs, onions and creamy beans.
Fasolada – White Bean Soup adapted from How to Roast a Lamb
1 lb dried cannellini beans or white gigantes, soaked overnight
2 Tbsp. canola oil or olive oil
1 large parsnip, peeled, woody interior stem removed, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 large fennel bulb, diced
1 white onion, diced
2 bay leaves
4 large sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup dry white wine
1 leek, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Warm the oil in a large heavy bottomed pot. Add all the vegetables, except for the leek, and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with wine and allow to evaporate.
Add the beans, leeks, bay leaves, thyme and stir to incorporate. Now transfer the contents into the clay pot. Pour in the water to cover the beans by 1 1/2 inches and bring to a boil on the stove. Cover and transfer to a preheated 350 degree oven. Cook for about 2 hours, checking the beans after about 1 1/2 hours.
When beans are tender, remove from the oven. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the lemon juice. and chopped garlic. Take out about 2 cups of the soup and puree in a blender or in a food processor until smooth. Stir the pureed soup back into the pot. Cover and allow to cool, or place back into the oven with the heat off until you are ready to serve.
Gremolata –This is traditionally used on top of Osso Buco. I’ve started to use it on so many things from grilled fish to beans soups.
1/2 cup freshly chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup minced garlic
2 1/2 Tbsp. lemon zest
Place all the minced/chopped ingredients together and toss together well. Serve a heaping Tbsp. on top of each bowl of soup.