- Drain and rinse the flageolets, then place them in a large saucepan and pour over enough cold water to come up to about twice the depth of the beans. Cover the pan with its lid and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum, then reduce the heat and add 2 of the garlic cloves and the bay leaf. Cover the pan again and cook the beans over a low heat for about 1 1/4 hours or until tender.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C / gas mark 4. Untie the lamb if necessary, season the inside with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the leaves from half of the rosemary sprigs. Place the lemon slices down the middle, then roll up the meat and tie it with string at 2.5 cm (1 in) intervals. Rub the outside of the joint with 1 tsp of the oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut the remaining garlic cloves into slivers. With the tip of a knife, cut slits in the lamb and insert the garlic slivers and the remaining rosemary, broken into little sprigs.
- Weigh the lamb and calculate the cooking time, then set it, rounded side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting tin. Put into the oven and roast for the calculated time.
- About 30 minutes before the lamb is ready, cook the potatoes in boiling water for about 10 minutes or until just tender, then drain well. When the lamb is done, transfer it to a carving board, cover with foil and keep warm. Drain off any fat from the roasting tin.
- Heat the remaining 1 tsp oil in a large saucepan over a moderate heat. Add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the tomatoes and cook for 3–4 minutes. Drain the cooked beans and discard the bay leaf. Add the beans to the shallot and tomato mixture, then add the parsley. Cover and cook for a further 3–4 minutes, then gently stir in the potatoes. Season to taste and keep warm over a low heat.
- Put the green beans in a saucepan and barely cover with boiling water. Cook over a moderate heat for 3–4 minutes or until just tender. Drain well and keep warm.
- To make the gravy, place the roasting tin on top of the cooker and pour in the wine and stock. Bring to the boil over a moderate heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the tin to mix in any cooking residue, then boil for 1 minute. Keep hot over a low heat.
- Carve the lamb. Put the bean and potato mixture on a warmed serving platter and arrange the slices of lamb on top. Serve the gravy and green beans separately.
How to roast lamb
Watch our video to see how easy it is to roast lamb to perfection. Watch now!
For a quick version, use 4 lean lamb leg steaks, 600g (1 lb 5 oz) in total, trimmed of fat and sprinkled with salt, pepper and a little chopped fresh rosemary. Drain 2 cans flageolet or cannellini beans, about 400g each, and put in a saucepan with 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp water, 1 grated carrot, the grated zest of 1/2 lemon, 2 finely chopped garlic cloves and 3 tbsp chopped parsley. Cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes or until hot and bubbling, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a moderately high heat, put in the lamb and fry for 2 minutes on each side for medium-rare, or 3 minutes per side for medium. Serve the lamb on top of the beans, accompanied by new potatoes and green beans.
Beans are an excellent source of protein and soluble fibre. Unfortunately they can produce side effects such as wind and bloating. To prevent this, cook dried beans thoroughly or rinse canned ones.
Each serving provides
A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, folate, niacin, calcium, zinc * iron, selenium