Week 78: Navarin D’Agneau Printanier (Spring Lamb Stew)

My lover told me to make something special for Easter.  I wanted to make rabbit in honour of the Easter bunny, but that was banned.  The kill joy.

Last year I made a slight mistake with Gordon Ramsey’s angry lamb recipe, so I didn’t want to mess it up again – so I decided to try Rachel Khoo’s lamb recipe instead. It serves 4 – 6 but I halved the ingredients because it was just me and him.

To make this for 4 – 6 as a main course you will need 1kg lamb neck (cut into 6 pieces), 2 cloves of garlic, 1 onion, olive oil, 1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme, 4 carrots, 100g peas, 100g green beans, salt and pepper.  Chop the carrots in to chunks (I peeled them but you don’t have to), finely chop the onion, and crush the garlic into a paste.

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Heat the oven to about 160 and heat 1tbs of olive oil in a flameproof casserole (like a large pan you can fit in the oven),  brown the lamb and onion. Once brown add the bay leaf, thyme, carrots and enough water to cover the meat by a couple of centimetres.  Heat it until it bubbles and then skim off any scum that rises to the top.  I’m not entirely sure what she means by scum, but I seemed to fish out a lot of onion.

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Pop the lid on the pot and put it in the oven for between 90 minutes and 2 hours (bring it out when the lamb is tender). Before the lamb is ready cook the peas and beans for about 5 minutes in boiling salted water then drain them.

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Take the lamb out the oven, remove the thyme and bay leaf and stir in the peas and beans.  Season with salt & pepper and serve straight away with boiled potatoes as if you’re French.

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So to put it bluntly, the curse of the Easter lamb has struck again. It was beautifully cooked, nice and tender but there was no flavour. Just like last time. I think I know what went wrong though; the pot was too large. It sounds funny but I think the pot being too big meant that I needed to add too much water to cover the meat and that diluted the flavour away to almost nothing. Also, because my lover is funny about meat on the bone I got shoulder fillets rather than neck, and I think the bones in the neck would have added to the flavour.

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Finally, I think maybe should have browned it a bit more than I did. If I get a smaller pot I’ll make it again, but next Easter I’m definitely doing rabbit!

The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo (Penguin Books 2012 ISBN: 978-0-718-15811-8)

Little Paris Kitchen

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