31 August 2011

Hello Spring & Navarin of Lamb

It is officially Spring tomorrow here in NZ!  Only a matter of a little time before asparagus season...which always means spring has well and truly arrived.  In the meantime to celebrate the onset of spring - navarin of lamb, that classic French Spring dish.  Yes it is another of Dorie's from Around My French Table.  The perfect one pot dish for a weekend lunch to welcome the coming of spring.

Hello Spring & some outdoor lounging :)

And it has certainly felt like Spring this past weekend, even some outside drinks on the deck basking in some rays.  So far removed from the cold snap and snow flurries of only a couple of weeks ago.  Though before any proper outdoor entertaining is done some serious work required in the garden...it is indeed a jungle out there.

In the meantime a bowlful of Spring. Traditionally the vegetables would be freshly dug, however with the state of my garden they were courtesy of Epicurean Supplies, Huckleberry Farms and the freezer for some frozen peas.  Yes frozen peas, apparently even the French use these! 

Navarin of Lamb, from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table

Serves 6


2-3 tbsp olive oil
1.5kg / 3lbs boneless shoulder of lamb, excess fat removed, cut in to 3cm / 1.5 inch cubes, and patted dry
3 tbsp all purpose flour
Salt and pepper
4 cups / 1 lt beef stock
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 medium garlic cloves, split and germ removed
2 parsley sprigs
1 tsp thyme, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
12 baby onions, not peeled
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal in 1cm / 1/2 inch slices
1 medium turnip, peeled and cut in to 1cm / 1/2 inch thick wedges, and wedges cut crosswise in half
1 tbsp sugar
250g / 1/2 lb small potatoes, quartered
1 1/4 cup fresh or frozen peas


Heat a heavy based saucepan or dutch oven over a medium high heat and add the olive oil.  Add the lamb pieces in a single layer.  Don't over crowd the pan as we want nicely browned rather than stewed.  Brown the lamb, in batches if need be, on all sides and then transfer to a plate.

Once all the lamb has been browned pour out any remaining oil and return the lamb to the pot.  Sprinkle the meat with the flour and season generously with salt and pepper.  Stir well and cook for a couple of minutes to coat all the lamb with the flour.  Add the stock, tomato paste, garlic, parsley, thyme and bay leaf.  Give everything a good mix and bring to a boil.  Once boiling reduce the heat, cover, and allow the navarin to simmer gently for 45 minutes.

While the navarin is simmering bring a pot of water to the boil and drop in the onions for a minute.  Drain, slice of the ends and remove the skin and set aside.

Heat the butter in a large frying pan over a high heat and add the onions, carrots and turnip.  Cook for a couple of minutes and then sprinkle with the sugar.  Stir for another moment and then reduce the heat and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are browned.  We want colour but not too soft.  Set the vegetables aside.

The navarin can be finished in the oven, just pre heat it to 200C / 400F or as stove top as I did as my pot has non oven proof handles.  If doing stove top just stir occasionally to ensure no sticking to the bottom of the pot.

When the lamb has simmered for 45 minutes add the vegetables and potatoes and simmer, still covered, for another 15 minutes.  Place the pot in the oven or leave stove top as above and braise for 30-40 minutes, or until the lamb is meltingly tender.

Once cooked removed the parsley and bay leaf and stir in the peas.  For fresh cook for 3-4 minutes and for frozen just a couple of  minutes.  The sauce will be rich and thick.  If looking a little too thick just add a little stock.  Ladle in to bowls and serve.

This was seriously good.  The sauce; rich with a little sweetness and depth of flavour from the tomato paste. The lamb so tender almost falling apart.  A little sweetness from the baby onions, and a bright freshness from the peas. The carrot, turnip and potato making it really feel like a nourishing bowl of comfort.

So hello Spring!  So happy you are arriving tomorrow.

If you like this you might like this; Braised Lamb Shanks
One year ago -
Island Time Part Deux



  1. I like your new header! Very much heralding the warmer weather (fingers crossed it stays that way...) Must check out this Dorie Greenspan book, seems to be a goer!

  2. Yum! Love the new colourful photos. Makes me feel like we have turned the seasonal corner!

  3. Beautiful photos... and a powerful reminder of the asparagus in our near future. So looking forward to that.

  4. So glad spring has arrived for you! Your photos are inspiring. Enjoy the sunshine and soon-to-arrive asparagus!

  5. Hooray for spring! This looks like a lovely dish for the changing seasons.. can't wait for fresh peas but in the meantime, frozen will do :)

    and ohmygosh, cannot wait for asparagus.

  6. @Sue @ FiveCourseGarden Thanks Sue...heading over to check out your blog :)

  7. @Hannah Me too...has been beautiful today! And glad you like the photos, thank you :)


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