The French are one of the healthiest people on earth, with an average life expectancy of 81 years old. Maybe, it’s all of the lamb and red wine in their diets? In any case, this French Navarin Lamb Stew recipe is a great crowd pleaser on a cold winter night.
My family loves lamb. Most of us don’t get to eat it until Easter dinner since it can be rather pricey per the pound. When we do buy lamb, we like to get the grass-fed version, if possible.
Lamb has some great health benefits to it. Not only is it high in protein, but lamb meat provides a great source of iron (a form of iron that is easily absorbed by the body), it is high in zinc, B vitamins, thiamine, trace elements such as; copper, manganese, and selenium, and heart healthy monounsaturated fats. Half of the fat in lamb in unsaturated fat, which is healthy for you.
The great part about this stew is that the veggies are not added in right away, but rather towards the end of the cooking process. This eliminates them from being overcooked and losing their valuable nutrients and color. Another important quality to this recipe is the addition of sugar. It’s a very small amount, but is key to the success of enhancing the flavors of the stew.
Prep Time: 30 min. / Cook Time: 1 hour 30 min. / Total Time: 2 hours / Servings: 6
- 2 pounds of boneless lamb shoulder
- 2 TBSP of olive oil
- 1 TBSP sugar
- 1 TBSP of flour (use rice flour if avoiding wheat)
- 1 cup of dry white wine
- 2 tomatoes, diced (or a can of diced tomatoes)
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- bouquet garni (substitute 1 tsp mixed dried herbs)
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 2 TBSP of butter
- 4 medium carrots, scraped and cut into 3 inch sticks
- 3 medium turnips, peeled and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces (you can substitute potatoes – much higher in carbs though!)
- 1 onion, peeled and cut in eighths to make slivers
- 1 1/2 cups peas (frozen are fine)
- 8 ounces green beans, cleaned and cut in 3 inch pieces
- Cut the lamb into large bite-sized chunks (it will shrink a bit). In a large cooking pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the pieces of lamb and brown them on all sides, turning as needed. Remove the lamb from the pot and drain off all but one tablespoon of the cooking liquid (if your lamb is fairly free of fat to begin with, this step may be unnecessary).
- Return the lamb to the pot on medium heat. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar and stir to coat. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of flour and stir again. Cook, stirring, for three minutes.
- Pour on the wine and add the diced tomatoes, the crushed garlic, the bouquet garni and the nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Complete the pot with just enough water to barely cover the lamb and bring to a low boil. Cover the pot and put on low heat to simmer for one hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Peel and slice the carrots, turnips (or potatoes), and onion. Melt the butter in a large skillet on medium heat and add these vegetables. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, then remove from heat. You want the vegetables to become slightly tender, not brown.
- Steam the green beans until just tender. Rinse with cold water and set aside to be added at the end.
- After the lamb has simmered for one hour, stir in the cooked vegetables and peas (if peas are still frozen, that’s fine). Simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes, perhaps with the lid off if you want to reduce the cooking liquid a bit. The vegetables should be just tender not mushy and falling apart, so don’t leave it too long on the heat at this point. Stir in the green beans and heat for five more minutes.
Serve this dish along with a crusty slice of your favorite dipping bread and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon or sparking red grape juice!
By Colleen Moriarty, DR Vitamin Solutions