This past weekend, Saturday was a cool summer day, full of rain. When the weather is gloomy, I always get in the mood for a roast. Besides a tender roast beef, I love cooking lamb. Lamb and beans is not only a hearty, warming meal, but one of the top ways I like to cook lamb. The reason I (and the Hubby) rave about it so much is that the lamb is placed on a rack over a roaster full of white and navy beans. All the drippings from the lamb are saved and meld with the beans. This turns simple ingredients into a side dish packed with intense flavour. Both the Hubby and I prefer to eat the beans over the meat!
The secret star to this dish is za’atar seasoning. Za’atar is a Lebanese spice mixture of ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, toasted sesame seeds, salt, and sometimes sumac is added. Sumac contributes a wonderful lemon zip. I go on kicks where I add za’atar (zaatar/zatar) to everything, but it really is delicious. I’ve thrown it onto chicken, into dips, on lamb, and it can make a dish next level.
Spice Mix for the Lamb and Beans
- 4 stalks oregano
- 6 stalks thyme
- 5 sage leaves
- 2 tablespoons za'atar
White & Navy Beans
- 6 pieces bacon (lardons)
- 1 small onion (chopped small)
- 2 small leeks (sliced)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 540ml cans navy beans
- 1 540ml can white kidney beans
- 2 tablespoons herb mix (see previous recipe)
- lightly salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 4 sprigs oregano
- 4 sage leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- In a roaster or wide dutch oven, fry the bacon lardons until almost crisp.
- Add the onion, leeks, and cumin seeds, and saute until the onions soften and begin to turn clear. (Add a drizzle of olive oil if more fat is needed.)
- Add the minced garlic. Sauté for 1 more minute.
- Add the cans of beans – including the juices, the herb springs, the seasoning mix, and stock. (And potatoes if using.) Lightly salt and add fresh ground pepper to taste.
- Remove from heat and add the lamb.
Roast Lamb Leg
- 1 lamb roast/leg (small roast)
- 1 oven-safe meat thermometer
- sea salt for salting roast
To add to remaining spice mix:
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons aleppo pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (or medium heat on a BBQ).
- Truss the lamb so it is in an evenly shaped cylinder.
- Generously salt the lamb on all sides.
- Combine the above spice ingredients with the remaining spic mix. Rub the mixture into the lamb, covering it entirely.
- Place a rack on top of the roaster and then the lamb onto the rack. Insert the thermometer.
- Roast the lamb until the internal temperature is 140° (approximately a couple hours).
- Once done, remove the lamb, wrap in tinfoil and let rest for 30 minutes.