Over the next little while, I’m going to try and catch up on a few French Fridays dishes that I’ve made, but haven’t managed to post about. I’m starting with a really good one.
Navarin Printanier is nothing like my mother’s Irish stew. Don’t get me wrong, my mother’s lamb stew is so good that my brother (a chef) adapted it for use on his menus. It’s a traditional, slow-cooked on the stovetop version, light and flavourful. Navarin Printanier is a braise, giving lamb the sort of treatment usually reserved for beef.
I love the methods used in this recipe. The braising itself makes the lamb tender, of course, but it’s not just that. The vegetables are sautéed in butter before being added to the pan and manage to retain the shiny vibrancy the sauté gives them. Beef stock and tomato paste (I used one infused with garlic, which was really nice) make a lovely, rich sauce flavoured with thyme, bay leaf, and parsley.
My mother and I cut up two shoulder roasts for this stew, removing the ribs for use another day. We were able to cut off almost all the fat from the lamb as we cubed it, which meant that the stew wasn’t at all greasy. Labour-intensive, but totally worth it.
I deviated from the recipe here and there, using rutabaga in place of turnip, adding about three times the tomato paste and thyme called for, and forgetting entirely to add the peas. Stews are very forgiving. This stew was delicious enough that I won’t reserve it just for spring, though it’s a worthy showcase for the year’s first vegetables.
You can find many other blogged descriptions of this FFWD recipe here: Navarin Printanier