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Mutton Stew with Vegetables (Navarin Printanier)

The secret of this French classic is in the vegetables–to be really authentic, fresh young spring vegetables should be used. If mutton is difficult to obtain, lamb may be substituted but needs to cook for only an hour to an hour and a quarter altogether.

ingredients

6 servings
125 g (4 oz) Salt pork, diced
700 g (1 1/2 lb) Boned breast of mutton, trimmed of excess fat and cubed
700 g (1 1/2 lb) Boned shoulder of mutton, trimmed of excess fat and cubed
2 Tbs Soft brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 Tbs Flour
6 Medium tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 1/4 litres (2 pints) 5 cups Chicken stock
1 Bouquet garni
50 g (2 oz) 1/4 cup Butter
12 Small potatoes, peeled
6 Small turnips, whole
6 Small carrots, whole or halved
12 Small pickling or pearl onions
1/2 Tbs Sugar

method

1. Fry the salt pork in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan until it resembles small croutons and has rendered most of its fat. Transfer the salt pork to a plate.

2. Add the meat to the pan and fry until it is lightly and evenly browned. Transfer the meat to the salt pork.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and pour off about half of the fat. Return the meat cubes and salt pork to the pan and sprinkle over the sugar and seasoning. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, or until the sugar has caramelized. Add the flour and cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the tomatoes, stock and bouquet garni, and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Melt the butter in a large frying-pan. Add the vegetables and fry until the onions are golden brown. Stir in the sugar and fry for a further 3 minutes or until it has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the vegetables to the saucepan containing the meat. Skim off any fat from the surface. Cook for 25 minutes, or until the meat and vegetables are cooked through and tender.

5. Remove from the heat and skim any fat from the surface of the stew. Discard the bouquet garni and transfer the stew to a large, warmed serving dish.

6. Serve at once.

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