This week's cookalong recipe over at the French Fridays with Dorie group is Navarin Printanier, or in plain English, lamb stew with spring vegetables. It's a simple enough recipe that's broken down into little steps, mainly browning the meat and vegetables separately, simmering the stew for 45 minutes and then braising it in the oven for an extra 30 to 40 minutes.
The only trouble was, I was cooking this for lunch and made a late start with lunchtime only a mere half an hour away! Everyone came home starving and I had to stave them off with promises of a "brilliant" stew... all the while crossing my fingers behind my back.
Due to the time constraints, I made a few shortcuts to Dorie's recipe and improvised with some ingredients. Good thing I managed to get the tenderest and leanest lamb cut, because that itself aided in speeding up the cooking time. It did cost me a bomb but I was glad I stuck to my guns and not use beef this time.
The reason I was late starting this dish off was because I only went to the store to buy the lamb an hour before our regular lunchtime. Of course, in the rush to shop, I managed to forget the tomato paste, frozen peas, the turnip and thyme! I made do without the tomato paste and turnip, subbed the thyme with rosemary (it goes very well with lamb, anyway), and used a frozen vegetable mix I had in my freezer that luckily contained peas. It had corn too, which was lovely, and carrots - but what harm is a few more carrots?
We don't have those small white onions here, so I used the small red variety. I didn't bother with the boiling and peeling technique as these red onions are easy enough to peel. In other words, for this recipe I got someone else to peel all of them... :).
I cheated a little on the cooking time and shaved off about 25 minutes from the total simmering time. It didn't seem to make any difference on the stew, I just made sure the meat was fork tender at the end of the braising time. This stew was delicious and got the thumbs up all around. I need to try this with beef next time!