Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Autumn in August? Navarin of Lamb

It has been distinctly chilly here the last few days (or more like it, evenings). It's perceptible and it's quite depressing really because it is that subtle sign that I have to return to work, the nights are drawing in and before I know it, the mornings will be dark and I will be stumbling around at 6am trying to find matching pairs of socks for Lola and Finn and the wherewithal to get dressed and drag myself out into the cold rain for another day of death by statistics.
Anyway, I remember Nigella saying something along the lines of cold weather having some benefits, mainly culinary and this dish fulfils this idea quite spectacularly, though ironically I ate this in France when it was really quite a warm and pleasant evening. However, there is a satisfying warmth about this dish which means that as much as it made me happy sat in a little restaurant in northern France, it made me feel cosy and sated as August begins to creep towards September.
I would, frankly, be delusional if I didn't seek out a recipe written by a French chef for this particular dish, and to that end, this is a slightly tweaked Raymond Blanc recipe from his book Kitchen Secrets (though I sourced the recipe through the Guardian website). The only tweaks I made from the original where that I used lamb shanks, which I have had at the bottom of the freezer in the garage for longer than the recommended freezing time (a LOT longer...) instead of the water, I used lamb stock. Using water always frightens me because I just think I am going to end up with water at the end of cooking, so lamb stock was the way to go. I also boiled down the stock at the end of the cooking process because wanted something thicker than what I had. We like clingy gravy here.
I served this with mash. It was amazing and Lola and Finn loved it. Happiness all round, despite the nip in the air.
Navarin of Lamb, adapted from the recipe in 'Kitchen Secrets' by Raymond Blanc
1.2kg new season's neck or shoulder of lamb on the bone, trimmed and cut into 4–5cm pieces (I used 3 lamb shanks)
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
100ml white wine (such as dry Chardonnay) (I used chardonnay)

1 tsp sea salt
6 black peppercorns
bouquet garni (2 bay leaves, 4 thyme sprigs, 5 parsley sprigs, 1 rosemary sprig, tied together)
4 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 litre cold water (I used a litre of hot lamb stock)

2 onions, peeled
1 large carrot, peeled
1 celery stick
2 turnips, peeled (I omitted these)

8 garlic cloves, peeled

Check that the lamb is trimmed of excess fat. Preheat the oven to 110C/gas ½. Heat the rapeseed oil in a large flameproof casserole and colour the pieces of lamb over a medium heat for 5–10 minutes until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, in a small pan, bring the wine to the boil and let bubble for 30 seconds.

Season the lamb with the salt, then add the peppercorns, wine, bouquet garni and chopped tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour on the cold water to cover the lamb and bring just to the boil, then skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Put the lid on, place the casserole in the oven and cook for 1½ hours.

While the lamb is in the oven, cut each onion into 6 wedges, keeping the base intact. Cut the carrot in half lengthways and slice into 6cm lengths. Cut the celery into similar lengths. Cut each turnip into at least 6 wedges.

Take out the casserole after 1½ hours, add the vegetables and garlic and bring back to the boil on the hob. Replace the lid and return to the oven for 1 hour until the vegetables are cooked and the lamb is very tender. Taste and correct the seasoning. If you want to, and the sauce is a little thin for your taste, turn the heat up and reduce the sauce to a consistency that you prefer. 

1 comment:

  1. That looks like it would warm the cockles - hurrah for all things stewy and soupy. I like the new pic of Lola and Finn :)


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