Or is it pilaf? I believe the words are synonymous, but perhaps it depends if your dish is Middle Eastern (pilaf) or Indian (pilau). This one is a pilau because it’s based on one of Meera Sodha’s from her wonderful book Fresh India, which I mentioned here and a copy of which I now own.
A pilau is made with long grain rice and is a great way of using up leftover ingredients, which is what I was doing the other night when I made it. I added asparagus because at this time of year during the British asparagus season, hardly a day goes by when it isn’t on our menu at home.
The Country Wives were kind enough to publish this recipe on their website recently.
When cooler temperatures and rain put paid to our barbecue plans on Sunday, I decided to make Navarin of Lamb, a delicious braise which uses a variety of spring vegetables. I didn’t have in my kitchen any of the baby turnips or carrots which are traditional but knew I could make the dish with what I did have, and the recipe below is the result. Use any good veg you can find, with this recipe as a guide.
Navarin of Lamb
600g lamb neck fillet cut into large dice
1 tbsp olive oil and a knob of butter
1 small onion, peeled and sliced
1 celery stick, sliced
1 tbsp tomato purée
I clove garlic, bruised
Sprig or two of thyme
Sprig of rosemary
1 bay leaf
100ml white wine (or red if that’s what you have)
300ml chicken stock
225g baby new potatoes
100g carrots (baby carrots left whole or “old” carrots peeled and cut into thick batons)
150g frozen baby broad beans
150g frozen petits pois
Heat the oil and butter in a shallow, heavy-bottomed casserole on the simmering plate and add the onions, celery and pieces of lamb
Stir to coat everything in the fat and then move the casserole to the floor of the roasting oven for a few minutes to brown the lamb
Return it to the simmering plate and add some seasoning, the tomato purée and wine. Let this bubble for a couple of minutes and then add the garlic, bay leaf, herbs and stock
Bring to the boil, cover and place in the simmering oven for 1½ hours but longer would be fine: in an Aga nothing dries out
About half an hour before you want to eat, place the potatoes and carrots in a saucepan with a little salt, a teaspoon of caster sugar, a knob of butter and 100ml of water. Bring to the boil on the boiling plate, cover and transfer to the simmering oven
Cook the peas, drain and rinse in cold water so they retain their colour
Cook the broad beans, drain and rinse in cold water and slip off the skins
Remove the lamb from the casserole to a plate, discard the garlic, herbs and bay leaf and bring the broth to the boil on the simmering plate to reduce it a little
Return the lamb to the casserole and, having checked they’re tender, add the potatoes and carrots and finally the peas and broad beans
Taste for seasoning, sprinkle with some chopped parsley and serve