I think I’ve skipped out on the whole of April’s FFwD recipes, but there was no way I was missing this lamb stew. Yes, that’s right, navarin printanier equals lamb stew – a stew (navarin) with spring vegetables (printanier) to be precise. Never mind the fact that we are firmly entrenched in the cool breezes and chilly evenings of autumn here in South Africa; an autumn stew will work perfectly too.
Looking at the recipe it is very similar to the lamb stew I’ve grown up on – sweet green peas, soft potatoes that have soaked up the rich broth and springy carrots, their colour dulled by the cooking time. The little onions will be a new twist I think, as will the initial browning of the vegetables.
Turnips are not a vegetable we see readily here and, as suspected, I could not track any down – I substituted with extra carrots. I also substituted the small white onions for shallots, again just working with what was available in the store. The other switch was leg of lamb in place of the shoulder – again thwarted by supermarket availability. I was much relieved to read that The Little French Bakery also used a leg of lamb for this recipe, with good results, despite her initial concerns of stringy lamb.
The recipe involves browning the cubes of lamb on all sides, coating them in flour and seasoning, before cooking a little longer and adding beef broth (I tried out store bought liquid broth for the first time), tomato paste, garlic, parsley, thyme and a bay leaf. All of this gets to bubble away on the stove top for 45 minutes, while you prepare the vegetables.
The onions are removed from their skin using a nifty little trick – putting them in boiling water for a minute, then top and tailing them – the skin comes off all too easily after this. In a large pan, with heated butter, the onions and carrots are sautéed, sprinkled with sugar and stirred constantly for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables brown beautifully. I think it adds a much fuller flavour to the overall dish.
Once the lamb has been simmering for the full 45 minutes, the sautéed vegetables and potatoes are added to the pot, and the whole lot simmers for a further 15 minutes on the stove top. After this it all goes into an oven, covered, for 30 – 40 minutes at 200 °C, or until the lamb is tender.
At this stage you add the peas, I used freshly shelled ones (the supermarket had something I wanted at least!), which get stirred through the stew for 4 minutes. Season the stew and serve, on its own, and enjoy.
A wonderfully comforting, warming stew – good for nourishing sick fiancés
PS You can check out all the other bloggers’ experiences of this recipe here.