Lamb Haricot – Le Menagier de Paris
HARICOT of MUTTON. Cut it into small pieces, then bring it just to the boil, then fry in bacon grease, and fry with onions chopped small and cooked, and mix in beef stock, and add mace, parsley, hyssop and sage, and put it on to boil together.
Le Menagier de Paris is one of my favourite books for 14th century cooking. The author was marrying a young girl, who didn’t know how to run a household (and certainly not to the particular and frugal ways of Monsieur Paris), so he wrote a book about cooking, running the household, some moral tips, and gardening. He had started on the hunting and falconry section, but unfortunately, never finished it.
I love it because he was quite frugal and so a lot of dishes are quite simple compared to say Forme of Curye, which was written for nobility that definitely wanted to show off.
I’ve adapted this slightly for ease of cooking for big groups and it’s a definite favorite.
- 1 kilo of lamb, chopped into 1cm diced
- 2 onions (diced)
- 1L of good beef stock (the stock makes the haricot, since it’s a pretty simple dish otherwise. Making a good stock from scratch gives the best flavour to the dish)
- 1 tsp mace, ground
- 1/3 cup of parsely and sage each, finely chopped. (I find this to be an optional addition)
- (I also tend to add 2 carrots, diced, as I often have carrots for other dishes when I’m cooking Haricot)
Roast the lamb in the oven at 180 C until brown on the outside. (about 20 minutes)
While the lamb is roasting, cook the onions in lard or oil until they have softened. (I like to slow cook onions ahead of time and then add the carmelised onions to the soup)
Add lamb, onions, mace and herbs to the beef stock in a large pot, bring to the boil, and then simmer for an hour.