“When the lamb’s been cooking for an hour, take it out and add the vegetables. Julia wants you to “press the vegetables into the casserole around and between the pieces of lamb.” There will be way, way too many vegetables for you to do that effectively, but what the hell, give it a shot.” ~Julie & Julia by Julie Powell
Julia Child’s Navarin Printanier (Lamb Stew with Spring Vegetables)
3 lbs. lamb stew meat
2 to 4 Tb rendered fresh pork fat or cooking oil
A 10- to 12-inch skillet
A fireproof covered casserole large enough to hold the meat, and all the vegetables
1 Tb granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 Tb flour
2 to 3 cups brown lamb- or beef-stock or canned beef bouillon
3/4 lb. ripe red tomatoes, peeled, seeded, juiced and chopped or 3 Tb tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/4 tsp thyme or rosemary
1 bay leaf
6 to 12 peeled “boiling” potatoes
6 peeled carrots
6 peeled turnips
12 to 18 peeled white onions about 1 inch in diameter
1 cup shelled green peas
1/4 lb. or about 1 cup green beans cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 quarts boiling water
1 1/2 Tb salt
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Cut the lamb into 2-inch cubes and dry with paper towels. The meat will not brown if it is damp. Brown a few pieces at a time in hot fat or oil in the skillet. As they are browned, place them in the casserole.
- Sprinkle the lamb in the casserole with sugar and toss over moderately high heat for 3 to 4 minutes until the sugar has caramelized. This will give a fine amber color to the sauce.
- Toss the meat with the salt and pepper, then with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle level of preheated oven for 4 to 5 minutes more. This browns the flour evenly and coats the lamb with a light crust. Remove casserole and turn oven down to 350 degrees F.
- Pour out the fat; add 2 cups of stock or bouillon to the saute skillet. Bring to a boil and scrape up coagulated saute juices. Pour the liquid into the casserole. Bring to a simmer for a few seconds shaking and stirring to mix liquid and flour. Add the tomatoes or tomato paste, garlic, thyme or rosemary, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer for 1 minute, then add more stock if necessary; meat should be almost covered by liquid.
- Put the lid on the casserole and set in the lower third of the preheated oven; regulate heat so casserole simmers slowly and regularly for 1 hour. Then pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a bowl. Rinse out the casserole. Remove any loose bones and return the lamb to the casserole. Skim the fat off the sauce in the bowl, correct seasoning, and pour sauce back into casserole.
- Add the vegetables which have been prepared as follows.
- Trim the potatoes into ovals 1 1/2 inches long, and cover with cold water until ready to use.
- Quarter the carrots and turnips, cut them into 1 1/2 inch lengths.
- Pierce a cross in the root ends of the onions so they will cook evenly.
- Press the vegetables into the casserole around and between the pieces of lamb. Baste with the sauce. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove, cover and return to the oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers slowly and steadily for about an hour longer, or until the meat and vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork.
- Remove from oven, tilt casserole, and skim off fat. Taste sauce again, and correct seasoning.
- While the casserole is in the oven, drop the peas and beans into the boiling salted water and boil rapidly, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are almost tender. Immediately drain in a colander. Run cold water over them for 2 to 3 minutes to stop the cooking and to set the color. Set aside until ready to use.
- Shortly before serving, place the peas and beans in the casserole on top of the other ingredients and baste with the bubbling sauce. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes or until the green vegetables are tender.
- Serve the navarin from its casserole or arrange it on a very hot platter.