1.5kg lamb neck fillets, trimmed of all fat and cut into large chunks
2½ tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, 3 finely chopped,
1 left whole
2 tbsp plain flour
600ml chicken stock, hot
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 bouquet garni of celery, bay leaves, fresh thyme sprigs and parsley stalks
12 small shallots
350g small, waxy potatoes, halved
225g carrots, cut diagonally into thick slices
225g small turnips, cut into wedges
200g frozen peas
10-12 fresh mint leaves
1 strip pared lemon zest
1. Season the lamb generously. Heat 15g of the butter and 2 tbsp of the oil in a large flameproof casserole. As soon as the butter foams, add half the lamb and fry until browned on all sides. This is important to the colour of the stew. Lift onto a plate, then brown the remaining lamb.
2. Pour away the excess oil, add half the remaining butter and the onion and fry gently until soft and golden. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute. Mix in the flour. Gradually stir in the stock and tomato purée, scraping to deglaze the pan.
3. Return the lamb to the casserole with the bouquet garni. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining butter and oil in a small pan, add the whole peeled shallots and shake them around until they are lightly browned all over.
5. Uncover the lamb and stir in the shallots, potatoes, carrot and turnip. Simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes- 1 hour until the liquid has reduced and the vegetables are tender.
6. Skim the excess fat off the surface, remove and discard the bouquet garni and season. Stir in the peas and simmer for 1-2 minutes until the peas are cooked.
7. Finely chop the mint, remaining garlic clove and lemon zest. Mix together and sprinkle over the stew. Serve with crusty fresh bread.
- A ‘navarin’ of lamb is a casserole recipe with veg. The gremolata-like mixture is neither authentic nor traditional, but adds a fresh, zesty flavour to this lovely spring lamb recipe.
- The softer reds of Rioja and Bordeaux are spot on with lamb and vegetable casseroles. Go for a relatively light, young version, so you don’t overwhelm the gremolata.