Thursday, 30 October 2014

Navarin Printanier

I’m really not sure what spurred me on to make this: yes, it is something I’ve wanted to cook for some time but that is the case with dozens, hundreds probably, of recipes or recipe ideas that I have stored in various ways.

I’m presuming therefore that as, at time of writing, it was late Spring and I just decided that what better thing to cook one Saturday was this so very traditional French Spring dish of lamb casserole cooked with Spring vegetables.

A bouquet garni, in case you didn’t know, is a bundle of herbs, either tied together with culinary string or tied together in a little muslin bag used in the preparation of soups, stews and the like.

There is no generic recipe for bouquet garni, but most include bay. I also used parsley and rosemary (natch, it is lamb after all) as, frankly, that was all I had but you could add thyme as well.

A quick note about pearl onions - it is simply a pain in the bum to peel these silly mini onions but there are a couple of ways that make the process easier. The first is to bring some water to a boil in a saucepan then drop in the onions and boil for 3 minutes. Drain them and under a slowly running cold tap water, peel them using a knife to cut off the root tip. The alternative is to place them in a microwave for 15-30 seconds and then peel the same way. Easy peasy.

Navarin Printanier
serves 2-3

400g boneless lamb neck fillet, cut into 3-4cm chunks, dusted with seasoned flour
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6-7 pearl onions, peeled, left whole
6-7 baby carrots, trimmed, peeled and halved (or left whole if thin)
2-3 young turnips, trimmed, peeled and halved or quartered depending on size
55g fine green beans, trimmed
40g frozen peas
50g broad beans
1-2 tbsp olive oil
15g butter
500ml - 750ml lamb (or beef) stock
100ml white wine
bouquet garni (I used 1 rosemary sprig, 3 parsley sprigs & 1 bay leaf)
2 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tsp tomato puree
1 tbsp flour
½ tbsp picked parsley leaves, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 175C.

Heat the oil & brown the lamb in batches in a large sauté pan, sprinkling a little sugar over as you do. Place the browned lamb in a cast iron casserole.

Add the garlic to the sauté pan and let sizzle for a minute or two.

Add the wine and boil to burn off the alcohol, then add the tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly then stir in the tomato puree and pour in the stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then pour over the meat in the casserole. Add the bouquet garni.

Cover & cook in the oven for about an hour to 1¼ hours. Remove from the oven and add the all the vegetables except the beans and peas. Cover and return to the oven for a further 45 minutes.

Fifteen minutes or so before serving, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the beans. Cook for 5 minutes then drain. Take the casserole out of the oven, add the beans as well as the peas.

Return to the oven for 10 minutes until the meat & vegetables are tender.

Discard the bouquet garni, season carefully with salt and pepper to taste and serve in bowls sprinkled with chopped parsley and crusty bread alongside.

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