High quality olives make all the difference in this dish, so don’t skimp. Go to a deli and get a glistening Mediterranean mix. The lamb should marinate overnight in the refrigerator, and be brought back to room temperature before grilling. If you don’t have that kind of time, marinate for at least a couple of hours. I also use this same recipe for steaks ctu from a lamb leg when serving just two or three people. White northern and cannellini beans work well. I use rosemary, thyme and parsley for the marinade herbs.
Lamb and marinade
4 ½ to 6 pounds (2 to 2.5 kgs) boneless leg of lamb, butterflied
¾ cup (80 g) high quality olives, pitted
1 tablespoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 cup mixed fresh herbs, chopped
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed
Juice of two lemons
4 ounces (125 g) salt pork or unsmoked bacon, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 pound (500 g) dry beans, soaked overnight, drained
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped or 1 tablespoon dry
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 quarts (2 liters) chicken stock
1 (14 ounce) can chopped, seeded tomatoes
2 (16 ounce) cans artichokes hearts, drained
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Hot sauce, such as Tabasco
Marinade: Combine the ingredients in a small food processor. Blend until the olives and garlic are minced, and the mixture emulsifies. Slather on the lamb, and set into a non-reactive bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Marinate as noted above.
Start the beans in a large Dutch oven by cooking the salt pork or bacon slowly over low heat until browned. Add the onion and carrots until softened. Add the beans, bay leaf, thyme, garlic and enough chicken stock to cover the beans by about three inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 1 ½ hours. Do not add salt; it will toughen the beans. Add water or stock to keep beans moist. Add the tomatoes and artichokes, then simmer for another half hour. Cue the lamb.
Discard marinade, pat the meat dry with paper towels. If grilling a whole leg, start cooking the fat side down, about 15 to 20 minutes per side or until a meat thermometer reaches 125°F/ 51°C degrees for medium rare. Let lamb rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Finish beans with butter, salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste. Remove bay leaves, stir in chopped parsley. Serve with sliced lamb. Serves eight.