Lamb with Chickpeas Ragout

This slow cooked lamb ragout is so rich and full of interesting flavors.  Serve hot with fresh bread.

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1/4 kg whole chickpeas
1 leg of lamb about 2 kg.
1/4 kilo fatty pastrami, cut in thick squares
1/4 cup chicken fat
1 large onion, chopped
4 medium tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. each, thyme and basil
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sweet white wine
1 cup breadcrumbs


Preheat oven at 160° C.

1.  In a large amount of lightly salted water, soak the chickpeas overnight.

2.  Drain well and cook in lightly salted water until the chickpeas are nearly soft.

3.  Cut the lamb into thick squares.

4.  In a large heavy saucepan melt the chicken fat and in this saute the onions until they are translucent.

5.  Add the lamb  and pastrami slices and brown well on both sides.

6.  Add the tomatoes, garlic, thyme, basil, bay leaves and salt and pepper to taste.

7.  Pour over the wine, rapidly bring to the boil and immediately lower the flame, cover the skillet and simmer very gently until the meat is tender (about 2 hours).

8.  When the meat is nearly ready transfer the mixture to an ovenproof casserole, add the chickpeas, correct the seasoning and sprinkle over with the breadcrumbs on the top.

9.  Place in a slow oven until a slight crust has formed on the top (about 1 hour).


Serve hot with fresh bread.
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