Last week it was all summer fruits and ice-cream and salads and then the weather changed. I was almost tempted to turn the heating on – in June – as the temperatures plummeted and the rain lashed at the windows. Forget the ice-cream, it was back to stew weather. But what stew do you eat in June. A Navarin of lamb of course packet with lots of tender, young spring vegetables and lots of vibrant fresh mint. So delicious you could forget about the awful weather!
Navarin of Lamb with Broad Beans, Asparagus, Peas and Mint
The vegetables are flexible here – use what you have. Tender new seasons carrots, little spring onion heads or French beans all work well.
Extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions or leeks, chopped
A couple of sticks of celery, finely chopped
2 garlic clove, finely chopped
450 g (1 lb) lean boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into cubes
150 ml (5 fl oz) red wine
450 ml (15 fl oz) lamb or chicken stock (or use good quality stock cubes)
1 or 2bay leaves
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary, very finely chopped
Baby new potatoes, scrubbed (cut into bite sized pieces if large)
Small turnips, scrubbed and quartered
Bunch of asparagus, cut into even sized pieces about ½ cm
Large handful of shelled fresh peas
Large handful of shelled broad beans
Heat some oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the seasoned lamb, in batches so as not to over crowd the pan. Brown evenly on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon. Turn down the heat of the pan and add the chopped onion, celery and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5-10 minutes or until softened. Scrape the browned bits of lamb of the bottom of the saucepan and stir them into the veg. Add the cubes of lamb back to the pan with the wine, rosemary, bay leaf and stock
Bring to the boil, then cover and turn the heat down. Let it gently bubble away for 1 hour.
Meanwhile boil the broad beans for three minutes and then plunge them into cold water. Shell.
Add the turnips and potatoes to the stew and stir. Cover the casserole again and continue cooking for 30–45 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are tender. Next add the peas and asparagus and cook until just done. Finally add the broad beans and mint. Check seasoning and serve.