Those Who Garlic Together, Stay Together

Garlic lovers take heed, between these two dishes, you’ll use 18 cloves—or more if you’d like…

From the freezer, we pulled the last of our leg-of-lamb purchased from Costco months ago and divvied up into different portions, this one being a 2-pound roast. On what to do with it, The Hubster flipped through our well-thumbed and dog-eared copy of Penelope Casa’s cookbook “La Cocina de Mama” and spotted Digna’s Roast Lamb and Potatoes thinking it would make the perfect Sunday evening braise. After all, having recently returned from a vacay in the Andalusian region, we were in a Spanish frame of mind…

As he read the ingredients, there was a little niggling in my brain that told me we made this dish a while back. Sure enough, I did a search on my blog and found that I had posted the very same recipe exactly 5 years ago to the day, on November 3, 2014. Now that was serendipitous indeed.

In this fabulous recipe, the lamb is first marinated, then roasted with potatoes. Prepared in an earthenware casserole—a cazuela—the lamb dish was once made on festive occasions in village wood-burning bakery ovens in Galicia Spain. Our cazuela was now a seasoned vessel compared to its maiden voyage the first time we made this recipe.

Keep in mind, you do need to prepare the lamb with marinade and refrigerate overnight, so plan accordingly. Then an hour-and-a-half before you start to cook, take the marinated meat out of the fridge so that the oil comes to room temperature. Even though we did it again, we think the next time we will forego browning the cubed meat before putting the casserole in the oven, where it should brown on its own. Eliminating this step could help ensure that the meat doesn’t get overcooked and/or dried out.




In the original directions it does not indicate to turn the meat and potatoes a time or two while in the oven. If you don’t, the spuds might not get completely cooked on the top layer, and become mushy at the bottom. You want to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly cooked and getting happy in the flavorful juices. So I mention to do this in the steps below.


Our side, (yes, another green bean dish), “Green Beans with Garlic and Vinegar” was also from Penelope’s book. She explains vegetables in Spain are typically served on their own as a first course. (We have experienced this first-hand in our travels throughout Spain.) Ingredients such as garlic, chopped hard-boiled eggs, and fried or toasted bread are common additions. They transform plain vegetables into dishes that can become light meals. (Here however, we omitted the eggs.) WOW, so simple yet so delicious!!

Digna's Roast Lamb and Potatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 14 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 8 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 Tbsp. dry white wine (we used dry sherry)
  • 2 lbs. boneless leg of lamb, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cloves
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. crumbled saffron threads
  • 1 lb. baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes


  1. FIRST DAY: In a mortar, mash to a paste one-quarter of the minced garlic cloves with the bay leaves, parsley and a 1/4 tsp. salt.
  2. Stir in 4 Tbsp. of the oil and 2 Tbsp. of the wine.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl, add the meat and stir to coat well. (Or put in a ziploc bag)
  4. Marinate overnight or longer in the refrigerator. (Ours marinated about 30 hours.)
  5. NEXT DAY: An hour-and-a-half before you start to cook, take the bag of marinating meat out of the refrigerator, allowing the oil to return to a liquid state.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  7. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large shallow casserole, preferably earthenware (like our cazuela.)
  8. Add the meat with marinade and brown over high heat.
  9. Remove casserole from heat and add remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, 4 Tbsp. wine, the broth, rest of garlic, the cloves, and salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes, uncovered.

    Russ toasted the saffron in foil over an open flame for several seconds then pulverized it with some finishing salt in a mortar and pestle.

  11. Add the potatoes, sprinkle them with salt and saffron (see above comment), and continue cooking another 30 minutes more, turning once or twice until potatoes are tender.

Green Beans with Garlic and Vinegar


Green Beans with Garlic and Vinegar

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 1 small onion, cut in half
  • 2 fresh parsley sprigs
  • 2 whole peeled garlic cloves + 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed and rinsed
  • 2 half-inch slices bread, cut from a French-style loaf, cubed
  • 2 tsp. red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 large hard-boiled egg, finely chopped (optional)


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil with the onion, parsley, whole garlic and 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil. Add the beans and cook at a high simmer for about 20 minutes, until cooked to taste.
    We used shallots and leek greens in place of the onion, plus included parsley stems.
  2. Meanwhile, to fry the bread, heat 2 tsp. of the oil in a small skillet, add the bread and fry until golden brown, turning several times. Drain on paper towels.
  3. Add the remaining Tbsp. oil and the sliced garlic to the skillet and sauté until the garlic is golden, reserve.
  4. When the green beans are done to taste, drain them, discarding the parsley, garlic and onion and place beans on a warm serving platter.
  5. Pour on the sliced garlic with its oil, sprinkle with salt, and drizzle with vinegar. Scatter the bread cubes (and eggs if using) over the beans and serve.

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