Braised young lamb is the basis for this very classic French ragoût with spring vegetables, known as a la printaniere. Julia Child in The French Chef Cookbook (Knopf, 1968) devoted her sixty-fourth TV show to navarin. She recommended stew meat made from a combination of the breast, for fat and texture; shoulder, for lean solid pieces; short ribs, for texture and flavor; and neck, for texture and sauce consistency. She also sprinkles the stew meat with sugar as it cooks; you may do so if you like. The baby vegetables are worth searching out any time of year; try a farmer’s market or specialty produce stand Serve from the crock with hot French bread and butter, or with a side of mashed potatoes. Julia says don’t forget to enjoy it with a glass of Bordeaux or Beaujolais.
- Slow Cooker: Large round or oval
- Setting and Cook Time: HIGH for 1 hour, then LOW for 6 to 7 hours; vegetables are parcooked, then finished in slow cooker last 30 to 60 minutes
- Serves 6
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, as needed
- 3 pounds lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 3-inch chunks
- 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
- 2 cups chicken, lamb, or beef broth
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour kneaded into 2 tablespoons unsalted butter for thickening
- 2 bunches baby carrots (14 to 16 carrots, about 10 ounces–not from a bag), peeled and root trimmed with 1/2 inch of the stem
- 1/2 pound baby turnips (10 to 12), peeled and left whole or halved
- 1 pound asparagus, bottoms snapped off and cut diagonally into 2-inch lengths, or baby green beans
- 1 cup fresh (about 3/4 pound unshelled peas) or thawed frozen petite peas
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil and brown the lamb on all sides over medium-high heat; transfer to the slow cooker. Add the onion to the skillet and cook a few minutes to take the raw edge off; add to the crock. Add half of the tarragon, the broth, and wine. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour.
- Reduce the heat to LOW and cook until the lamb is very tender, about 6 hours.
- Add the kneaded butter (beurre manie) in pieces to the cooker and stir until thickened.
- In a small pot of boiling water, parcook the carrots and turnips separately 5 minutes each; add to the crock with the rest of the tarragon, the asparagus, and peas. Cover and cook on LOW until the vegetables are cooked, 30 minutes to 1 hour longer. Season with salt and pepper.
Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann copyright 2002, used by permission by The Harvard Common Press.
Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2009
Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.