Arni A la Hassapa.
6 lean lamb chops
1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (to taste)
2 large onions, thinly sliced.
2 pounds of riped tomatoes, peeled and diced (reserve the juice)
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper (to taste)
1 tablespoon tomato paste diluted in 2 tablespoons of water.
1/2 cup meat stock
2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons dried oregano.
2 pounds green beans such as young favas or Romanos, trimmed, strings removed, and cut into 2-3 inch lenghts.
1 cup coarsly chopped flat-leaf parsley.
Juice of 1 lemon (to taste)
2 tablespoons finely chopped "preserved" lemon or finely grated lemon zest, blanched in boiling water for 5 seconds.
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped.
Heat the oven to 325. Trim off all the fat and sinew from the lamb and carefully wipe the meat to remove any bone splinters.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy skil;let and lightly brown the lamb over medium het. Drain on paper towels and transfer to a deep glazed clay or enamel-lined cast iron casserole at least 4 inches deep. Reduce the heat to low and saute the onion 10 minutes or until soft. Add the tomatoes, honey, salt and pepper, raise the heat, and boil 3 minutes or until reduced by one third. Add the tomato paste, stock, cumin and oregano, stir to mix and pour over the meat. Cover and bake for 50 minutes.
Blanch the beans in lightly salted water for 1 minute. drain and *** to the casserole with the remaining olive oil. Shake gently to mix, cover and bake for 30 minutes longer. There should be about 1 and 1/2 cups of sauce (if there is more just uncover the dish-if less just add water) and bake for 15 minutes longer. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the parsley and stir in the remaining parsley. Set aside for 5 minutes in a warm place.
Chop the "preserved" lemon, garlic, reserved parsley and mix them with a large pinch of salt. (This is to be added to the plate at serving)
Add salt, pepper and the lemon juice (to taste) to the casserole. The souce should be highly seasoned. Serve straight from the casserole. Sprinkle the plates with the parsley mixture.
IMPORTANT: Unless you have tender, young favas, you should shell them before using.
This is "Arni a la Hassapa" or Butcher's Lamb.
There are several variations to this dish.
The most popular variation calls for the replacement of the beans by large cubes of eggplant, cauliflower florets, small potatoes, baby zucchini, artichoke hearts, thin leeks or cooked dried beans. Fry the eggplant dice in olive oil until golden brown on all sides before adding to the meat and blanch the fresh vegetables in boiling water for 1 minute before adding them. Cooked dried beans do not need any preparation.
My greataunt must be proud of me for remembering this recipe!
"Olio nuovo e vino vecchio"
"Olio nuovo e vino vecchio"