Welcome to the Pyrenees! Today we head into the mountains on the way from Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon, and my kitchen smells wonderful!
The dish today comes from the Luchon Valley, located at the foot of the mighty Pyrenees. This is a local specialty, although it’s likely that every family has their own unique recipe – just like Maman used to make. Whatever the tweaks, the base always seems the same: lamb, beans, ham, potatoes and carrots.
The recipe below is simple. I give you weights and volumes, but it is really a recipe you just go with – throw in what you have – and 3 hours later your nose will let you know when the flavours have combined and the meat has yielded to become soft and melting.
I was not sure about the ‘heel of country ham’ and I opted to use some bacon instead, although a smoked hock would have worked beautifully in hindsight – actually hock/heel maybe that is what it meant! Gotta love hindsight!
Recipe is adapted from the Gouaux de Larboust.
- About 500g of lamb neck (I used diced lamb instead)
- 1 heel of ‘country ham’ (or you can use some pork belly)
- 2-3 pieces of pork rind
- 1 good quality fresh sausage
- Dried haricots beans (I used about 200 grams, soak for 24 hours in water before you use them)
- 2-4 carrots (chunky sliced)
- 2 onions (roughly chopped)
- 2 fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I used half a can of diced tomatoes)
- 2 potatoes roughly chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic roughly crushed/chopped
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- a few sprigs of parsley
- 1 cube of beef stock
- Salt and pepper to season
How to do it
Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Brown the lamb, onions and carrot in a saucepan over a medium to high heat. Once browned, cover the meat and vegetables with just enough cold water to cover the meat comfortably. Add the ham, rind, stock, tomatoes, herbs and season with salt and pepper.
Cover the pot with a lid and bring to the boil before transferring to an oven safe casserole dish. put the lid on and place in the oven, immediately turning the heat down to 150 degrees celsius.
Cook for about 3 hours or until the lamb is tender and the beans, potatoes and carrots are well cooked.
When ready to serve, fry off the sausage (I removed the skin from mine before frying the mince for some crispy texture). Serve the casserole into bowls and garnish with the fried sausage.