I was excited about this week's recipe, Navarin Printanier. At last, a recipe with a long list of ingredients needing to be browned, boiled, simmered and braised. I love lamb, I love vegetables, and I love stew. I'd already prepped my new-to-me Dutch oven and found most of the "exotic" ingredients at the local grocery.
When I say "exotic," I mean ingredients like lamb, turnips and small white onions. I was surprised to find lamb in the freezer case, already diced and ready to be stewed. I had been dreading having to drive to another market for one item, so I was happy to save myself that trip. I only bought 2 pounds because that was plenty of meat for the family.
On the other hand, choosing a turnip was a real adventure. I've never used turnips before. Actually, I've never even met a turnip before. I ended up walking up and down the produce aisle several times, rejecting the parsnips, celery root and rutabaga before finally coming across the large, radish-like vegetable labeled "turnips." Even more difficult than identifying the turnip is trying to choose a good one when you don't know what you're looking for. I found one with no blemishes on it and tried squeezing (firm with a little bit of give), smelling (smelled like dirt) and knocking on it like a melon (sounded solid). In hindsight, I should have just gone with more potatoes.
As for the small white onions, I had to substitute small, white onions. What I mean is, I should have used either boiling or pearl onions, but the store had neither, so I just used regular white onions and chopped them coarsely.
This recipe required a lot of steps and used three different pans. After you brown the lamb in two batches and simmer with broth and seasonings, you "meanwhile, work on the vegetables." That involves blanching the onions in one pan (if you use pearl onions) and browning the vegetables with butter and sugar in another. Then you add everything together, simmer a little longer, and braise in the oven. Finally, add the peas, taste for seasoning, and serve.
Usually when I make stew, I'll brown the meat, chop the vegetables, and dump them all into a crockpot with broth and seasoning. After 6-8 hours, dinner's ready, and dear ole hubs isn't looking at me sideways because I've filled up the sink twice with dirty dishes.
And to top it off, I didn't care for the navarin printanier very much. I'm not sure if it was the lamb or the turnips, but something gave the stew a slightly bitter taste that I didn't like. Hubs and the toddler ate theirs happily, so it was just me, but since I'm the one who's doing the cooking, it'll be a while before this makes an appearance at our table again.
The verdict: grade: C-. If I was to try this recipe again, I'd use beef and leave out the turnips. But then again, I already have a beef stew recipe that I love that doesn't involve so much fussy work, so why would I torture myself like that? At least I got the chance to break in my Dutch oven, which worked beautifully.
See how the rest of the FFwD bloggers fared here.
Thanks for reading, and happy eats!