Sheet Pan

Harissa Lamb, Beans & Garlicky Greens

March 25, 2020
1 Rating
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist Sophie Strangio. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.
Author Notes

Whether by choice or not, a lot of us have beans on the brain lately. Beans and greens, beans on greens, green beans—I love them all. But sometimes I want beans that are less brothy, more meaty. And when you consider all that beans need to sing—salt and fat—a luscious cut of meat is, really, the bean’s natural partner (forgive me, greens!). Enter: lamb belly.

Lamb belly, also called lamb breast, is available at most butcher shops and counters, though may require a special ask—one that will, indubitably, impress your butcher. The high ratio of fat-to-meat makes for a super-tender, rich roast that bastes its bean friends. If you can’t find lamb belly, pork belly will sub in happily. The overnight salt-and-sugar cure—borrowed from Momofuku's Bo Ssam—makes for a properly seasoned roast that tastes only of its best, most unctuous self. And to gild the proverbial lily, harissa and sugar encourages a crisp crust, which adds charred, spicy-sweet bursts to the whole dish.

Let your pantry move you in choosing which type of beans. Small, creamy ones, like borlotti, are a natural accompaniment to the rich lamb (and crisp up well), but heftier varieties, like lima, add textural interest.

Lastly, really pile the garlicky, bracing greens high. Mustard’s bitterness acts as a perfect foil to the fatty lamb—but whatever greens you have in the fridge right now will do just fine, promise. —Coral Lee

  • Prep time 8 hours 10 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
  • 3 pounds lamb belly
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of beans (see Author Notes)
  • 1 tablespoon harissa
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 teaspoon flaky salt, plus more for finishing
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces mixed greens, such as baby mustard, frisée, or arugula
  • Freshly ground black pepper, for finishing
In This Recipe
  1. Place the lamb belly on a large baking sheet. With a sharp knife, score the lamb belly in a crosshatch pattern about 1-inch wide and ½-inch deep. Combine the salt and sugar in a small mixing bowl, and use to coat the lamb all over. Leave to cure in the fridge for at least 8 hours and up to overnight.
  2. The following day, heat the oven to 300°F. Slide the lamb into the oven, and roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until shreddy, basting each hour and pouring off the fat. (Skim reserved fat and use to roast wintry vegetables, fry eggs, etc.—don’t throw it away!). Meanwhile, combine the harissa and sugar in a small bowl.
  3. When the lamb is shreddable, brush the harissa-mixture all over the fatcap, and scatter the beans around the lamb. Using a spoon, coat the beans in the pan drippings. Return pan to oven, and broil for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the lamb is charred in places, and beans look a little frizzled.
  4. Let lamb cool slightly before removing the upper crisp crust. Shred meat finely with two forks, and use scissors or a knife to break up the crisped crust, folding it into the shredded meat and beans. Toss to coat the beans and beat in the pan drippings once again, and return to the broiler for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until crisped in spots.
  5. Whisk together the garlic, 1 teaspoon flaky salt, lemon juice, vinegar, and oil in a large mixing bowl. Shower in the salad greens, and toss to coat. Finish with a few cracks of black pepper and additional flaky salt, if desired. Divide the lamb and beans onto plates, and top with the garlicky greens.

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Coral Lee is an Associate Editor at Food52. Before this, she cooked food solely for photos. Before that, she cooked food solely for customers. And before that, she shot lasers at frescoes in Herculaneum and taught yoga. When she's not writing about or making food, she's thinking about it. Her Heritage Radio Network show, "Meant to be Eaten," explores cross-cultural exchange as afforded by food. You can follow her on Instagram @meanttobeeaten.