Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 20, 2009
I WROTE ABOUT lamb shanks the other day, and someone commented on lamb stew — specifically, Irish stew. I have to admit that, snob that I am, the first thing that came to mind on reading it was how much I preferred a navarin to an Irish stew. Don't get me wrong: I'd never turn up my nose at an Irish lamb stew. But a navarin… well, that's something else. Wikipedia:
Navarin is a French ragoût (stew) of lamb or mutton. Often, vegetables are added, making it navarin printanier. While the name "navarin" has been suggested to relate to the 1827 Battle of Navarino, more probably it refers to the stew's traditional inclusion of turnips -- navet, in French. Turnip me no turnips: if a navarin is a springtime stew, it's time to say farewell to the bitter winter root vegetables: turnips, parsnips, swedes.
Tonight we ate at a friend's house, and she served navarin. Little cubes of lamb, her own lamb, lightly browned, then first braised, later gently stewed with carrots, onions, and potatoes; peas added at the last minute. I suppose there were a few herbs thrown in: I'd use a little marjoram, not much more. On the side, a very nice white salad: frisée and Romaine, I think, and crunchy things, and a very nice vinaigrette.
Chardonnay, Alexander Valley, 2007; Côtes de Provence, 2007