Josceline Dimbleby first introduced me to the idea of pairing anchovies with lamb they add a delicious, salty piquancy to the meat.
250 g (9 oz) haricot or cannellini beans
2 large onions, peeled and thickly sliced herb bundle of bay leaf, thyme and parsley stalks extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1 tin of anchovies in olive oil 4-6 whole heads of garlic, plus 1 extra clove
1 dessertspoon salted capers, rinsed
2 tablespoons mixed chopped fresh parsley and thyme 50 g (2 oz) wholemeal breadcrumbs salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 kg (4A lb) leg of lamb, boned, with the shin bone left in large glass of red wine several sprigs of fresh rosemary 450 g (1 lb) tomatoes, skinned
Soak the beans overnight in cold water. Drain and rinse well. Place them in a pan with one of the sliced onions and the herb bundle. Cover with fresh water, bring to the boil, then simmer, covered, for around 1-1 Yi hours, or until the beans are tender. Drain, discard the herbs and set the beans aside.
While the beans are cooking, pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 7 (220°C, 425°F).
Oil a roasting tin and place the remaining sliced onion on it. Drain and chop the anchovies, reserving the oil from the tin. Finely chop one clove of garlic, then mix with the capers and the anchovies. Add the chopped parsley and thyme. Set half the mixture aside, mix the remainder with the breadcrumbs and season with pepper. Stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil, then use it to stuff the lamb. Tie the meat with string, set on top of the sliced onion, then drizzle over 2 tablespoons oil and season. Roast, uncovered, in the oven for 20 minutes.
Lower the heat to Gas Mark 4 (180°C, 350°F). Pour the wine over the lamb and tuck in the remaining garlic heads and a few sprigs of rosemary. Roast, uncovered, for another 30 minutes, then baste, cover, and cook for another hour. Uncover for the last 15 minutes of cooking, basting a few times.
While the lamb is cooking, place the tomatoes in an ovenproof dish, season well and drizzle over 3 tablespoons oil (use the reserved oil from the anchovies if you like). Roast alongside the lamb for 40-50 minutes. When cooked, place the lamb and garlic on a hot plate and keep warm, covered in foil, for 15-20 minutes. Chop the tomatoes roughly and add to the beans with their juices and the remaining herb and anchovy mixture. Reheat thoroughly, stirring in a few tablespoons of lamb juices and/or seasoning to taste. Serve the lamb with the warm beans and the garlic. Serves 6.