Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Nigel's stew

Dear readers, the following is my first brave post on Cookbook Addict, dating back Nov 2005. By brave I mean I had just told the world that I had a blog and was coming back to it after letting it hang uncared for for months. I was a new convert to Le Creuset and Nigel Slater, perhaps the most loveable of all food writer, hence a post combining both fresh loves (boh relationships are still going strong, thank you).

I started this blog a few months back, but somehow got a bit shy and stopped posting as I couldn't face telling friends and family about it. But I have regained some of my original confidence, and for this I have to thank the exceptional talent of a certain Mr X. And I've even decided to tell the world about it, after all, what's the point of a blog that doesn't get read?!
Let's just hope I find time to post regularly! You'll have to show tolerance for my lack of technical knowledge (posting pictures at the right place, doing links and so on) as well as for the fact that I'll try to write both in French and English, but perhaps I'll only find time for one version on some days...

So because it's about food, and cookbooks, and food cooked thanks to cookbooks, here is today's worth...

Having recently purchased a gorgeous new Le Creuset pot, I have started cooking easy one-pot casseroles and stews as you just need to chuck in a few bits and bobs, let the whole simmer and voilà, you get a nice, hot plateful (or two!) of something comforting. It's just what we need with the weather turning winterly and a small baby needing attention ;) I have come up with old classics like ratatouille and bolognese sauce, even an easy (though not quite authentic) curry with chicken breast and potatoes, a beef and carrot stew, beef gulasch. Tonight I wanted something new that would make me put to use the lovely Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater. I took a few liberties, seeing as I don't enjoy soaking and cooking beans, and couldn't find any flat-leaf parsley or fresh mint in the local supermarket.

Lamb and bean casserole with leeks (I am also taking liberties with the title and recipe, sorry Nigel!)

The resulting dish is hearty and creamy. The beans lend their flouriness to the stew, the leeks have melted into the sauce and the lamb is tender.


500 g slices of a leg of lamb, cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic
1 tbspfresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
2 big leeks, trimmed and sliced in 3 cm pieces
1 tbsp flour
a big tin of white beans, drained
150ml cream

Preheat the oven on 150°C
Heat some olive oil in a flameproof casserole dish and brown the meat on all sides. Then remove and set aside.
Sauté the leeks in some more oil if necessary, until cooked but not browned. You may need to put the lid on and let soften on lower heat. Then add the garlic and thyme, let cook a further three minutes before sprinkling the flour on the whole and mixing thoroughly.
Pour 550ml water, then add the meat and the beans. Bring to the boil, put the lid on and transfer to the oven for about an hour.
When the time is up, take the casserole out of the oven and add the cream, give it a good stir and sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley and mint leaves if you have any.

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