If you've had your fill of hearty winter fare you might enjoy this lighter, springier dish, inspired by Provençal daubes, and made with white wine, rather than the usual red. Infused with herbs and garlic and packed full of new-season baby vegetables, rest assured it's still warming enough to be satisfying on chilly spring days. I like to use lamb neck chops here as they have so much flavour, but you could also use four lamb shanks if you prefer, though you may need to increase the cooking time in step 3.
Wine wise, the more delicate flavours suggest steering clear of the rich reds usually associated with stews in favour of something a little fresher and fruitier – a bright cherry-spiked Austrian blaufränkisch, with its herbaceous notes and hint of peppery spice, would fit the bill perfectly, or a classic Beaujolais served at cool room temperature will also work.
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 head of garlic, cut in half laterally
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 25g flour
- Salt and pepper
- 8-10 bone-in lamb neck chops, approximately 1kg
- 400ml white wine
- 500g new potatoes, scrubbed and halved if large
- 8 baby carrots left whole, or 2 large carrots, cut into chunks
- 4 baby leeks, left whole, or 2 large ones, trimmed and cut into chunks
Heat the oil in a large casserole pan over a medium flame and then add the head of garlic, cut-sides down, and the herbs. Fry for a couple of minutes, until aromatic but not coloured, then scoop out and set aside.
Put the flour into a shallow bowl and season well. Turn up the heat underneath the casserole, toss the lamb with the flour then fry until well coloured – you'll probably need to do this in batches to prevent overcrowding the pan.
Remove the lamb for the moment and add a little of the wine to the pan, scraping the bottom to dislodge any bits of flour, then add the rest, along with the lamb, herbs and garlic. Barely cover with cold water and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer very gently for about 1.5-2 hours until the meat is beginning to fall from the bone – alternatively you can do this in a moderate oven.
Put the potatoes, carrots and leeks into the dish, cover and simmer for another 30 minutes until tender.
Scoop out the lamb and vegetables and set aside, then turn up the heat and boil the gravy until reduced by about half. Season to taste. (Meanwhile, I like to take the meat off the bone.) Return the meat and vegetables to the pan, discarding the herbs, and heat through before serving.
The Society's Beaujolais-Villages 2019
With intense and vibrant black-fruit perfume, this is a classic Beaujolais-Villages with good balance and a crunchy fruit-forward style.
The Society's Blaufränkisch 2018
A delicious example of Austria's most coveted red grape; this is bright, elegant and generous, with lashings of red-fruit flavours, a twist of blackberry and a hint of spice.