Thursday, April 26, 2012

navarin printanier - French Fridays w/ Dorie

I'm glad the weather started cooling off a bit for this week's lamb stew. I'm also glad I had a day off to allow for the time cooking needed to make the meat very tender. I got a butterflied leg of lamb on sale at the market. It was 3 1/2 lbs. and after trimming, came out to the 3 lbs. needed for the stew. I followed the instructions pretty strictly, though I think there are places where it wouldn't make a difference if I cut corners or not. Looking back, I probably could have left out a few steps. One that I won't do again, unless other Doristas think it was worth it, was sauteing the vegetables in butter. I did this in a pot, rather than a pan, so didn't get the deep browning that I could have, but even still, I'm not sure that it added anything of significance. What it did do was make the most wonderful smell in the kitchen. I suppose that's worth something!

The lamb tasted wonderful and wasn't at all gamy. The only way this stew differed from the stew my mother taught me to make, was in browning the meat and adding turnips, and using beef. My mother and I would lightly flour the cubed meat and then saute in oil where Dorie saves adding the flour until after the meat browns and before adding the broth. It's much easier that way and I didn't see any noticeable change.

The other tip I'm glad I followed was in the prepping of the boiling onions. I almost didn't listen to the instructions - boil the little onions for a minute, then slip off the skins. Really? Would that really work? Yes, it did! I can't believe how many Thanksgivings we spent crying over peeling the little onions. Then one year I suggested using frozen onions and they were ok, but not nearly as good as fresh ones. Now I'll be making these often. They're so sweet and tender. I do remember some of the frozen ones being a little tough. So mom, you have to try them this way. Just boil a pot of water, add the onions and boil for about a minute, drain, cut off the root end, then slip off the skin. Amazing!
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