Lamb Cassoulet

It feels rather strange to be blogging about slow cooked warming meals from balmy Sydney! The Day family successfully made their way across the Tasman and we are now ensconced in Sydney. Loving the weather (32 degrees yesterday) not loving the wildlife (nearly trod on THE MOST ENORMOUS snake I have ever seen out running).

This recipe is my take on a cassoulet, a French slow-cooked meal with white beans in. It freezes brilliantly and is suitable for the whole family from stage 2 (around 7 months) onwards. It was a real hit with Lottie, I puréed it with some butternut squash and she gobbled it down. If your baby hasn’t had beans before I would recommend giving this to your baby at lunchtime, beans can cause wind for some babies and you don’t want to be up in the night because your baby has flatulence! You will know after their first taste whether they are effected badly or not and can serve it as an evening meal next time.

I love using beans and pulses in cooking. They are a great way to stretch your meat further as well as being healthy alternative to meat, a great source of protein, fibre and iron and lower in fat and cholesterol. If you haven’t cooked beans much you might want to check out this helpful article on wholefoods which includes a comprehensive guide to cooking dried beans and pulses as well as information about different types of legumes. A great tip a friend shared with me was to precook a big batch of beans and then freeze them into portions.

Lamb Cassoulet
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 6-8 hours on low
Serves: 2 meals for a family of 4

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1.5kgs of lamb shoulder steak (either whole or chunks)
2 tbsps flour
1 red onion
3 cloves garlic
3 medium carrots
4 celery sticks
2 bunches of spinach
2 cups cooked white beans or 3/4 cup dried white beans
4 rashers bacon (optional – although Mike and Freddie would never call bacon optional!)
1 can chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup reduced salt beef or chicken stock or water (if using dried beans add about 1 -1 1/2 cups extra)

Place flour and seasoning in a bag, add the lamb and shake to coat.

In a frying pan brown the lamb and cook the bacon then add to your slow cooker.

Add the carrots, celery, dried beans and tomatoes to the slow cooker. (If using pre-cooked beans add these 1/2 an hour before serving)

Half an hour before serving add the spinach

Serve with mashed potato.

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