Lamb - Leg
1. Cook the lamb: Heat oven to 300˚. Rub lamb with oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add lamb and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 12 minutes. Transfer lamb to a plate. Add wine and 2 cups water to the Dutch oven; scrape up browned bits from bottom of pot. Nestle garlic and herbs into a large oval casserole; place lamb on top of herbs; add pan juices from Dutch oven. Cover lamb with foil; transfer to oven and roast, basting frequently, for 3 1⁄2 hours. Uncover, flip lamb, and continue to cook, basting frequently, until lamb is very tender, 3–3 1⁄2 more hours. Transfer to a rack and let cool for 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the beans: About 1 1⁄2 hours before the lamb is done, drain beans and transfer to a 4-qt. saucepan along with 6 cups water, 4 cloves garlic, and the herb bundle. Insert the cloves into the onion and add to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 hour. Remove pot from heat and season with salt and pepper. Discard herbs and strain beans, reserving cooking liquid. Transfer 2 cups beans, 1⁄4 cup cooking liquid, oil, crème fraîche, and remaining garlic clove to a blender and purée. Stir puréed bean mixture and about 1 cup of the cooking liquid back into pot and cover to keep warm until lamb is cooked. Serve the lamb sliced or torn into chunks, alongside the beans.
Slow-cooking a leg of lamb in wine with garlic and herbs transforms the meat into an ultra-tender entrée that goes marvelously with stewed white beans. This recipe is based on one given to us by the French food writer Camille Labro, who got it from her mother, a native of Provence. SAVEUR's executive food editor, Todd Coleman, toured Paris with Labro and observed her in the kitchen for his piece "Making Sunday Supper," from our October 2009 issue.
Pairing Note: This rich Provençal dish calls for a wine with ripe tannins from the south of France, like the Domaine Leon Barral Faugères 2004 ($33), from the Languedoc. —Ania Zawieja