The cooler weather has a lot of us turning to slow cooked and braised dishes. Navarin of Lamb is a classic French dish that celebrates slow cooked lamb but makes a real star feature of lightly cooked vegetables. The contrast is irresistible. Light, tender crisp vegetables, and deep, rich lamb stew.
1kg diced lamb (usually made from shoulder)
2 tablespoons plain flour
4 tablespoons mildly flavoured oil (I use rice bran oil)
1 brown onion, peeled and sliced
1 whole head of garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
350mL white wine
1 can chopped tomatoes
4 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
4 sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped
500mL stock (could be lamb, chicken or vegetable)
selection of seasonal vegetables (such as baby carrots, green beans, brussel sprouts, spring onions, baby potatoes, baby turnips, peas, zucchini etc)
knob of butter
salt and pepper
Sprinkle the flour with a little salt and pepper over the lamb cubes and toss around until coated with the flour.
Heat a heavy based saucepan with a little oil and fry the lamb in batches. It should be really brown all over. Remove the lamb and set aside.
In the same pan, sauté the onions and garlic for 3-4 minutes until softened. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Rapidly boil the wine until reduced by half, about 4-5 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes, rosemary and thyme and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes until reduced by half again.
Now add the stock and the lamb back to the pot. Season to taste and cover. Simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours or until the sauce is thickened and the lamb is very tender.
Prepare your vegetables by peeling and cleaning them. If you are using baby potatoes, boil these first in a small pot until cooked through. Halve them and set aside.
Bring another pot of water to the boil, season heavily with salt and blanch the rest of the vegetables for 2-4 minutes, until slightly tender but still crisp. Drain and immediately plunge into cold salted water.
When you’re ready to serve the dish, melt a knob of butter in a frying pan and toss the vegetables through with a little salt and pepper for seasoning. Keep tossing the vegetables for a few minutes until heated through.
Serve with the lamb stew.