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The Project: cowboy cassoulet

March 4, 2011 |  7:13 pm

Each Friday, we post a recipe from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen archives that's perfect for weekend cooking. This week, it's cowboy cassoulet -- a rich lamb-and-navy bean stew.

The dish will take you nearly five hours to make. 

But don't let that scare you off. Most of that time involves hands-off cooking. Leaving you free to do some chores and rip through the "Real Housewives" episodes stacking up on the DVR. (Don't try to deny it.) And dinner will be waiting for you when you finish.

This recipe starts with browning lamb shoulder blade chops, which are then smothered with caramelized onions, carrots and fennel, and a heap 'o dried navy beans and enough water to nearly cover, and left to simmer for hours in the oven. When the beans are soft and the lamb is tender, you'll sprinkle homemade breadcrumbs on top, add a drizzle of olive oil and return it to the oven to brown.

--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch 

Photo: Los Angeles Times