In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

Spring Daffodils

Optimism, like a burst of sunshine or a bunch of forced daffs can be a short-lived thing at this time of year. There may or may not be snow, but the north wind doth continue to blow, and we're on a bit of a cusp, food and drink-wise.

Easter is early this year but fortunately we have continuity on one very important ingredient. There's Dorset lamb, the first of our home breeds to come onstream and it won't be long before the British season is in full swing.

It pays to be clear about how lamb evolves throughout the year. The expression 'horses for courses' is best avoided after the scandal surrounding processed meat earlier this year, so let's just say that 'spring' lamb, largely indoor-reared and delicate in flavour, is more suited to concentrated whites, gastronomic pinks and elegant pinots than bold 'Med reds'.

Any butcher worth his salt marsh will tell you that the lambkins gambolling in March meadows will taste of a great deal more from late April onward, having come of age on lush pasture and ready now for claret and similarly digestible reds. As the year progresses, flavour gathers momentum and fuller Rhône-style reds tempt the tastebuds, especially with the arrival in late June of the stronger, darker flavours of wonderful slow-growing breeds like Herdwick.

A year in the life of a lamb culminates in the transition to hogget or, as I like to call it lamb dressed as mutton and all the better for it in flavour-packed slow-cooked shoulders and shanks and the like. Rewinding here, the leonine part of the month is a good time for these, with warming syrahs and zinfandels.

For the more tender end of March- going-on-April, I'm evangelical about Welsh lamb, which delivers the balance of freshness and tenderness that goes so well with the young vegetables, but New Zealand has my warrant for the wine: Greywacke Pinot Gris is a fantastic match or just about any pinot noir. A mature claret, rather than a young and feisty one, bristling with tannins, is also a treat. Or why not follow the advice of David Ling of Hugel, guest speaker at the January 2013 dinner, celebrating 20 years of The Society in France, and try it with Jubilee Riesling.

 

NAVARIN PRINTANIER

Navarin of lamb
  • 1.5k lamb shoulder, cut into generous chunks
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs plain flour
  • A teaspoon of sugar
  • 250g of little shallots, blanched for 30 seconds and peeled
  • 250g baby carrots, peeled.
  • 150g little turnips, peeled and trimmed
  • 250g green beans, trimmed
  • 300g little new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 200g peas, shelled weight , or use frozen
  • a bouquet garni of parsley, thyme and rosemary, wrapped in a spiral of lemon peel
  • 2 plump cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 50g butter
  • Salt, pepper
  • Fresh continental parsley, leaves only, to garnish

If the carrots and turnips are toddlers rather than babies, cut them into batons or bite-sized pieces. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron casserole and brown the lamb, in batches. Remove and throw in the shallots. Turn them in the oil, sprinkle with the sugar and let them caramelise a bit. Remove and reserve.

Return the meat to the casserole, sprinkle with the flour and cook for a minute. Stir in the garlic, and add 750ml water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and keep in a warm place. Melt the butter in a frying pan and when frothing nicely, add the carrots, turnips and potatoes. Coat in the butter then add to the lamb cooking liquor in the casserole. Cook for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender. Now add the beans, peas, onions and lamb, season to taste, cover and simmer the whole lot very gently on the top of the stove for an hour.

Check the seasoning, garnish with fresh parsley and serve from the pot.

This recipe first appeared in Wine Without Fuss in Spring, 2009

Members' Comments (0)

There are no comments for this article.
Society Promise
Members before profit
Awards

Our website uses cookies with the aim of providing you with a better service. By using this website you consent to The Wine Society using cookies in accordance with our policy.

Close

4.4. Cookie Policy

By using The Wine Society website, you agree to cookies being used in accordance with the policy outlined below. If you do not agree to this, you must alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you or cease using the website.

The Wine Society uses cookies to enable easy navigation and shopping on the website. We take the privacy of all who use our website very seriously and ensure that our use of cookies complies with current EU legislation. The following guide outlines what cookies are, the types of cookies used on The Society's website and how they work.

You may alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you, but this will cause difficulties when accessing and using some areas of the site. Instructions on how to do this can also be found below.

4.4.1. What are 'Cookies'?

  • Most major websites use cookies.
  • A cookie is a very small data file placed on your hard drive by a web page server. It is essentially your access card, and cannot be executed as code or deliver viruses. It is uniquely yours and can only be read by the server that gave it to you.
  • Cookies cannot be used by themselves to identify you.
  • The purpose of a basic cookie is to tell the server that you returned to that web page or have items in your basket. Without cookies, websites and their servers have no memory. A cookie, like a key, enables swift passage from one place to the next.
  • Without a cookie every time you open a new web page the server where that page is stored will treat you like a completely new visitor.
  • More recently, cookies have also been used to collect information about the user which allows a profile of their preferences and interests to be created so that they can be served with interest-based rather than generic information about available goods and services.

4.4.2. How do Cookies help The Wine Society?

Cookies allow our website to function effectively. Cookies also help us to arrange content to match your preferred interests more quickly. We can learn what information is important to our visitors, and what isn't.

4.4.3. How does The Wine Society use cookies?

The Wine Society does not accept advertising from third parties and therefore, as a rule, does not serve third-party cookies. Exceptions to this include performance/analytical cookies (see below), used anonymously to improve the way our website works, the provision of personalised recommendations, and occasions when we may team up with suppliers to offer special discounts on goods or services.

The Society uses technology to track the patterns of behaviour of visitors to our site.

4.4.4. What type of cookies does The Wine Society use?

We use the following three types of cookies:

4.4.4.1. Strictly Necessary Cookies
These cookies are required for the operation of our website, enabling you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies, services like shopping baskets or e-billing cannot be provided. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Authentication Cookie and Anonymous Cookie
    These cookies remember that you are logged in to your account – without them, the website would repeatedly request your login details with each new page you visit during your time on our website. They are removed once your session has ended.
  • Session Cookie
    These cookies are used to remember who you are as you use our site: without them, the website would be unable to tell the difference between you and another Wine Society member and facilities such as your basket and the checkout process would therefore not be able to function. They too are removed once your session has ended.

4.4.4.2. Functionality & Targeting/Tracking Cookies
These cookies are used to recognise you when you return to our website and to provide enhanced features. This allows us to personalise our content for you. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Unique User Cookie
    This cookie is used to:
    • store your share number in order to identify that you have visited the website before. Without this cookie, we would be unable to tell whether you are a member or not.
    • record your visit to the website, the pages you have visited and the links you have followed. We use this information to make our website, the content displayed on it and direct marketing communications we may send to you or contact you about more relevant to your interests.
    • This cookie expires after 13 months.
  • Peerius Cookies
    These third-party cookies are used to provide you with personalised recommendations based on your purchase and browsing history. They expire within 4 hours of your visit.

4.4.4.3. Performance/analytical cookies
These cookies collect information about how visitors use a website, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. These cookies don't collect information which identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. It is only used to improve how a website works. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Google Analytics Cookies
    These are third-party cookies to enable Google Analytics to monitor website traffic. All information is recorded anonymously. Using Google Analytics allows The Society to better understand how members use our site and monitor website traffic.

4.4.4.4. Authentication Cookie
In order for us to ensure that your data remains secure it is necessary for us to verify that your session is authentic (i.e. it has not been compromised by a malicious user). We do this by storing an otherwise meaningless unique ID in a cookie for the duration of your visit. No personal information can be gained from this cookie.

4.4.5. How do you turn cookies off?

All modern browsers allow you to modify your cookie settings so that all cookies, or those types which are not acceptable to you, are blocked. However, please note that this may affect the successful functioning of the site, particularly if you block all cookies, including essential cookies. For example, In Internet Explorer, go to the Tools Menu, then go to Internet Options, then go to Privacy. Here you can change the rules your browser uses to accept cookies. You can find out more in the public sources mentioned below.

4.4.6. Learn more about cookies

4.4.7. Changes to our cookie policy

Any changes we may make to our cookie policy in the future will be posted on the website and, where appropriate, notified to you by email. Please check back frequently to see any updates and changes to our cookie policy.

 

Have a question?Live Chat

Live Chat