Lamb Stew with Root Vegetables
- ACTIVE: 1 HR
- TOTAL TIME: 3 HR
- SERVINGS: 8
Jim Clendenen's version of this classic French stew, called navarin d'agneau, was inspired by vegetables from an extraordinary organic produce purveyor, the Chef's Garden, in his native Ohio.
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder or top round, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
- 1 pound baby carrots, peeled
- 1 pound baby parsnips, peeled
- 1 pound small fingerling potatoes
- 1/2 pound baby turnips, halved
- 8 baby fennel bulbs, trimmed, fronds reserved and chopped
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the flour in a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the lamb cubes in 4 batches, tossing to coat thoroughly.
- In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add one-fourth of the lamb cubes and cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 6 minutes; transfer to a plate. Brown the remaining floured lamb in 3 batches, adding 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot per batch. Reduce the heat if the casserole bottom darkens too much.
- Return all of the lamb to the casserole. Add the wine and vinegar and bring to a boil. Add the stock and tarragon and return to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the casserole and braise the stew in the oven for about 1 hour, or until the meat is nearly tender.
- Add the carrots, parsnips, potatoes, turnips, fennel and shallot to the lamb stew. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring to distribute the vegetables. Cover the casserole, return it to the oven and cook until the meat and vegetables are tender, about 1 hour longer. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley and fennel fronds and serve the stew in deep bowls.
Jim Clendenen pairs the stew with a rich, powerful Pinot Noir that is full of dark-berry fruit