This is one of many freezer meals I made one weekend. I haven’t sampled them because I froze before the final cooking stage. I love being able to freeze meals to have at the ready in case I really don’t feel like cooking. I love lamb (I know its not for everyone) so I was excited to makes this. I adapted it from and Emeril Lagasse recipe.
- 1 pound dried Great Northern beans, rinsed well and picked over
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 pounds boneless lamb stew meat, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups chopped yellow onions
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
- 3 bay leaves
- Dash of paprika
- Dash of garlic powder
- Dash of onion powder
- Dash of cayenne
- Dash of dried oregano
- Dash of dried thyme
- 1/4 cup minced garlic
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/3 cup chopped green onions
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 cup dried bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Combine the beans and 8 cups cold water in a large saucepan or soup pot and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and remove from the heat. Let sit for 1 hour. Drain the beans in a colander and discard the soaking liquid. Set the beans aside.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Season the lamb with the salt and pepper and cook the lamb in batches until very brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lamb to a bowl and set aside. Add the onions, celery, thyme, bay leaves, seasonings and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the vegetables are soft, 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock and return the meat to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes.
Add the beans to the pot and continue cooking until the beans are tender but not mushy, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The cooking liquid should be slightly thickened, just enough to coat the beans and lamb. (If the sauce seems too thin, remove the meat and beans with a slotted spoon and cook until the liquid has reduced and is slightly thickened. Alternatively, if the cooking liquid has reduced too much, add a bit of water.) Add the green onions and parsley, taste, and season if necessary with additional salt and pepper.
Transfer the bean mixture to a 9 by 13-inch casserole and top with the bread crumbs and Parmesan. Drizzle the top with the olive oil.
At this point freeze the casserole. When ready to cook, place in a 400 degree oven until golden brown and heated through.