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Beans for Slow Cooked Lamb

Asked by sonjahealy. Answered on 3rd August 2014

Full question

Hi there! I'm making the Slow-Cooked Lamb with beans from 'Feast' which I've made (and loved) a few times using the dried beans. I don't have time to soak dried beans this time so have bought tinned cannellini beans instead Can I put them in for the whole 4 hour cooking period or will they turn to mush? Better to put them in closer to the end? Thanks! Sonja

Our answer

Nigella's Slow-Cooked Lamb With Beans (from Feast) is made with dried canellini beans that are soaked overnight, briefly boiled and then cooked slowly in the oven with the lamb. The slow cooking not only tenderizes the beans but means that they are infused with flavour as they cook. It is possible to use canned canellini beans instead as long as the canned beans are not too soft (in our experience the texture of canned cannelini beans is usually quite firm but different brands can vary).

The beans should be drained and you can reserve the liquid they are packed in if you want to use this in the cooking process. Add the drained beans to the roasting pan at the beginning of the cooking process. You won't need to add 1 litre/4 cups of cooking liquid as the beans are already cooked, so add the 250ml/1 cup of wine and 250ml/1 cup liquid (the liquid from the beans or vegetable stock) to the pan and check the pan every 2 hours to see if you need to add any more liquid. You can also just cover the roasting pan with foil and put it in the oven, without bringing the liquid in the pan to a boil first. Add any salt carefully, as the canned beans will already have some salt added, and try not to stir the beans too much as this could cause them to break up.

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