Autumn officially arrived this week and the thermometer has nose-dived of an evening as if to reinforce the point. At times like this, there can be few things more satisfying than a lamb casserole. A classic French navarin of lamb is the perfect dish to warm you through.
It is said that the original recipe was created for King George III in the 1700s.
Since then many variations have been introduced. Last night, we followed Gordon Ramsay’s take on it.
Price often acts as a barrier to lamb dishes. Lamb, as any cook knows, is often pricey. However, the advantage of this dish is that it uses cheap cuts, including mutton. That makes it perfect even for a midweek dinner.
“Lamb, as any cook knows, is often pricey. However, the advantage of this dish is that it uses cheap cuts”
Leftovers can make a good base for a casserole too – we used leftover roast lamb for ours. Because we like our lamb pretty rare, the meat was still defiantly pink when it went into the pan with the turnips, carrots, leeks, shallots and potatoes.
Ramsay’s recipe involves sprinkling sugar over the turnips and onions and caramelising them in the pan. Combined with red wine and chicken stock, plus peas at the very last minute, the result was a deliciously sweet stew.
Tarragon proved its secret ingredient. I often use the herb with roast chicken, but I’ve never tried it with lamb. I’m happy to report that it works a treat.
Navarin printanier is the actual name for the dish – referring to its use of spring vegetables – but this proved a first-rate autumn dinner all the same.