Stage 11: Mont Saint-Michel/Avranches
The sheep that graze on the coastal fields of Normandy eat a rich, salty grass that gives the lamb meat a superb flavour. It’s a tradition in the region to bake lamb at Easter and it’s often served with baked beans. Flageolets are small, delicate beans, light green in colour.
- 12 garlic cloves
- 1 leg spring lamb, trimmed of most of the fat
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp butter, softened
- freshly ground pepper
- 4 medium carrots, cut into 1½ cm (½ in) slices
- 60 ml (¼ cup) dry cider
- 2 cups drained cooked flageolet beans
- 3 tbsp chopped parsley
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 10 minutes
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).
Peel four of the garlic cloves and cut each clove lengthwise into four slivers.
Using the tip of a small knife blade, make 16 cuts into the lamb at regular intervals, ensuring the cuts are deep enough to hold the pieces of garlic. Push the garlic into the holes.
Oil a roasting tray. Place the leg of lamb in the tray and rub it all over with half the butter. Season with salt and pepper and bake the lamb in the oven for about 45 minutes, turning it two or three times during the cooking so it cooks evenly.
After 20 minutes of cooking, add the carrot slices and remaining garlic to the tray.
When the meat is done, remove it from the oven, transfer to a dish, together with the carrot and garlic, cover with foil and leave to rest for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the excess cooking fat from the roasting tray, add the cider to the tray and bring to the boil. Add the flageolet beans and remaining butter and reheat. Stir in the chopped parsley.
Serve 2–3 tablespoons of beans on each plate and top with pieces of carrot, garlic cloves and a few thin slices of lamb.
Photography by Benito Martin