Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Springtime Lamb Stew

This recipe will be perfect for Easter.

Le navarin d'agneau (last word –lamb– is pronounced like the spanish "año") is a type of ragoût (pronounced "rah-goo"): a rich, thick stew in which the meat, poultry or fish is first fried (rissolé) then covered in flour (to thicken the sauce) before simmering (sometimes with vegetables) in a well seasoned liquid (wine, broth...). This should not be mistaken with the italian ragù, a meat sauce from the Bologna region. Navarin is a mutton or lamb ragoût cooked with young, springtime vegetables.*

The recipe is for 6 people. It takes about 1½ hours to 2 hours to prepare and cook. It is sufficient in itself as a main dish, but if you fear that your guests will need some carbs, you can boil a few small potatoes (peeled, boiled whole in salted water for about 15 minutes or until a knife goes through), served on the side, or added to the sauce at the last minute.
  • 3½ lbs boneless lamb shoulder roast (my Larousse calls for 800 g "épaule d'agneau désossée" –1¾ lbs boneless lamb shoulder, and 800 g "collié d'agneau désossé" –1¾ lbs boneless lamb collar). See the american and french lamb cut charts.
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup (20 cL) white wine
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bouquet garni (pronounced "boo-kay gahr-nee") –a few sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf, a small bunch of flat leaf parsley, tied together with kitchen string
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 lbs (300 g) carrots (ideally the youngest, tenderest you can find –those sold with their leaves)
  • 1/2 lbs (200 g) turnips (ideally the smallest, youngest you can find –most likely sold with their leaves)
  • 1/4 lbs (100 g) onions (ideally small button onions)
  • 3/4 lbs (300 g) green beans (ideally the thinest french green beans you can find)
  • 3/4 lbs (300 g) shelled green peas, either fresh or frozen
  • salt, pepper, nutmeg
  1. Cut the roast into a dozen big chunks or slices. Heat up the oil in a big pot. Fry the meat a few minutes until it gets a nice golden color on all sides, without burning. Drain the meat and discard most of the fat. Place the meat back in the pot.
  2. Sprinkle the meat with sugar and toss. Sprinkle with flour and toss. Cook for 3 minutes, tossing continuously. Pour the wine and reduce the heat to medium. Season with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg.
  3. While the meat starts simmering, dice the tomatoes. Peel the garlic cloves, cut them in half and remove their stems. Add these veggies to the pot along with the herbs. If necessary, add some water, just enough to fully sink the meat into liquid. Cover pot with a lid. Simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, peel the carrots, turnips and onions. If they are small you can keep them whole. Otherwise, slice them. Sauté in butter (in a dip pan) for about 10 to 15 minutes. Toss regularly.
  5. Steam or boil the green beans (about 6 minutes in a pressure cooker).
  6. Once the 45 minutes are passed, add the sautéed veggetables and the green peas to the stew and simmer for 20 more minutes.
  7. After this time, add the green beans and simmer 5 more minutes.
  8. Serve hot in the pot.
* info compiled from Le Larousse de la Cuisine and The Food Lover's Companion


Fabienne said...

Appétissant !

Betty C. said...

Yum, I've made navarin for Easter before. This year it will be "Souris d'agneau" with artichoke hearts and sesame seeds.

One of my daughters was frightened by the name!

Susan in Italy said...

Lovely dish in a lovely Le Creuset! our phonetic skills are great too.

* s n o o p e d o n * said...


I am currently working on a book "World of Soups" to represent different cultures and countries through their soups.

it would be great if you'd be free to contribute some photos and information of the soups you make/have!
(like this yummy stew..)
your name will be included in this book if the soup photos get published!

do let me know what you think and if you'd be interested! :)


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