Navarin d'agneau printanier (spring lamb stew with vegetables)

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

This is a good way to use up the tougher cuts like the neck. This is perfect for braising and stays moist because of the fat and tissue running through the meat. Ask your butcher to give you boned neck, fillet, not on the bone as it's normally sold. Spring vegetables such as young carrots, turnips and even peas and broad beans are springing up at home and in the warmer parts of Spain and France, so choose your favourites to go with the lamb. The more colourful the better, I'd say.

This is a good way to use up the tougher cuts like the neck. This is perfect for braising and stays moist because of the fat and tissue running through the meat. Ask your butcher to give you boned neck, fillet, not on the bone as it's normally sold. Spring vegetables such as young carrots, turnips and even peas and broad beans are springing up at home and in the warmer parts of Spain and France, so choose your favourites to go with the lamb. The more colourful the better, I'd say.

1kg neck of lamb fillet, cut into 3-4 cm chunks
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, peeled and cut into rough chunks
1 leek, roughly chopped and washed
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
A few sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
A good knob of butter
2tbsp flour
1tsp tomato puree
100ml white wine
1.5litre hot beef stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 200-250g of spring vegetables such as baby turnips, carrots, young leeks, peas and broad beans, boiled or steamed separately, refreshed in cold water and mixed together
A good knob of butter
1/2 tbsp chopped parsley

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan, season the pieces of meat, lightly dust with a tablespoon of the flour, shaking off the excess and fry them a handful or so at a time until nicely coloured. Meanwhile in a thick-bottomed saucepan cook the onion, carrots, leek and garlic in the rest of the vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes with a lid on, stirring every so often. Add the thyme, bay leaf and butter and mix well until the butter has melted then stir in the rest of the flour and tomato purée and cook on a low heat for a couple of minutes, stirring every so often. Slowly add the white wine and beef stock, stirring again to avoid lumps forming then add the meat, bring to the boil and season. Simmer gently with a lid on for 1 hour, skimming occasionally. If the meat's not tender cook for another half an hour or so.

Drain the meat and vegetables into a colander over a bowl to catch the sauce. When all the sauce has drained through, strain it through a fine meshed sieve into a clean pan and simmer until it has thickened. At the same time remove the pieces of meat from the vegetables (by now they will have given up most of their flavour, so chuck them away), add to the sauce and re-heat for 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile reheat the other vegetables in boiling salted water for a couple minutes, drain and toss in the butter and parsley and season. Serve the lamb in individual deep dishes, or a large serving bowl and scatter over the vegetables.

Serve with new potatoes, Jersey royals when they appear or a simple mash.

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