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Lamb Casserole with Caramelized Onions

ingredients

serves 4
900 g (2 lb) boned shoulder of lamb
15 ml (1 tbls) olive oil
40 g (1 1/2 oz) butter
1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
550 g (1 1/4 lb) very starchy potatoes, sliced
salt and ground black pepper
bouquet garni
2 leeks, washed and sliced
about 2.3 litre (4 pt) boiling water
8 small potatoes, trimmed into regular, oval shapes
16 white button onions, blanched
30 ml (2 tbsp) caster sugar
30 ml (2 tblsp) finely chopped parsley
Worcestershire sauce, to serve

method

1. Cut the lamb into squares weighing about 50 g (2 oz) each, discarding any fat or gristle. In a large flameproof casserole, heat the olive oil and 15 g (1/2 oz) butter. Add enough meat to cover the base and saute until evenly browned all over, then remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Repeat with the remaining lamb.

2. In the casserole, arrange alternate layers of lamb, sliced onion and sliced potatoes, seasoning to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper between each layer. Add the bouquet garni, the sliced leek and sufficient boiling water to cover. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

3. With a slotted spoon, remove the meat and reserve. Allow to cool a little, then puree the vegetables and cooking juices in a blender, in batches if necessary.

4. Return to the casserole and boil rapidly for about 45 minutes, or until reduced to 1.4 litre (2 1/2 pt) of liquid.

5. Add the trimmed potatoes and simmer for a further 20 - 30 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked but not too soft.

6. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the remaining butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the onions, sugar and 150 ml (5 fl oz) water, then simmer for 15 minutes, or until the onions are caramelized and tender, turning frequently with a wooden spoon.

7. When the potatoes are cooked, return the meat to the casserole and add the caramelized onions and their juices. Reheat very gently over a low heat until the meat is hot (reheating over a high heat tends to toughen it).

8. Transfer to a heated deep serving dish. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with Worcestershire sauce.

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