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Now that we are deep into winter, what can be better than a stew to warm the body and soul. A 'navarin' is a stew of mutton or lamb with root vegetables. This is a really good dish and we've found it goes from really good to really great with the addition of pita bread dipped in a spiced hummus on the side. We've adapted the lamb and hummus recipes from American Brasserie by Rick Tramonto & Gale Gand.

  • 1/3 cup olive oil or more as needed

  • 2 lbs boneless lamb for stew cut into 1 inch cubes

  • 1 medium bulb fennel, trimmed and diced

  • 2 medium turnips, peeled and diced

  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1" chunks

  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 1" chunks

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 2 garlic gloves, minced

  • 1/2 lb mixed shiitake, cremini and button mushrooms

  • 1/2 cup brandy or Cognac

  • 1 cup dry red wine

  • 1 TB chopped fresh rosemary

  • 1 TB fresh thyme leaves

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 cups veal Stock, Chicken Stock or low sodium canned broth

  • Juice of 1 large orange

  • 1/4 tsp orange zest, optional

  • 1 1/2 TB cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced

  • approx 1/2 cup (more to taste) fresh cilantro, chopped and whole leaves

Serve with Spicy Hummus and fresh Pita Bread

In a heavy pot or enameled dutch oven, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add lamb and cook until browned on all sides, stirring occasionally. Do not overfill pot when browning so do in batches if necessary.

Add the fennel, turnips, carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook, stirring until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove the stems from shiitake mushrooms and discard. Slice all mushrooms into 1/4" slices. Add to pot when the vegetables have been softened and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the brandy and cook down until it is reduced by half. Add the wine, rosemary, thyme, orange rind if using, salt and pepper. Stir well and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the stock, raise the heat and bring to a boil. Remove any scum that might rise to the top. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered. Start tasting the meat after 1 1/4 hours. When the meat is almost done add the orange juice. and continue to cook until the meat is completely tender. While cooking, add a little additional liquid if the pot starts to get dry. A general amount of cooking time is 2 hours, however, be watchful. Don't over cook.

The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If it isn't thick enough when the lamb is tender, remove the lamb and cook the sauce down over medium heat.

Serve with whole and chopped cilantro sprinkled on top and fresh pita bread and spiced hummus on the side.

Serves 4 or 5 and can easily be doubled.

Wine Suggestions: There are those that will forgo the wine and find a good stout. Check out Howie's Cellar! Otherwise, we'd try a good Syrah or a GSM (Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre) blend.

Spiced Hummus

Serves 2-3. Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.

  • 1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) or 1/2 cup dried chickpeas (picked over to remove stones and debris)

  • 1/3 cup tahini

  • 1 tsp freshly ground cumin

  • 2 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice or more to taste

  • 2 TB chopped fresh parsley

  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced

  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  • Kosher salt to taste

  • 1/3rd cup olive oil (or less if you desire)

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne or to taste.

Canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas) makes this recipe almost effortless. But it doesn't take much more work to cook your own beans and they taste better! To cook them yourself, soak the chickpeas overnight, drain them, then put in a pot and add water to cover by 1". Cook until they are tender (perhaps an hour or two; often depends on how old they are). OR, we prefer to place dried chickpeas (no need to soak them) in a pressure cooker. Cover with water according to cooker's instructions and bring to high pressure and cook for 30-40 minutes. Use quick release method.

Drain the cooked beans reserving some of the cooking liquid or, if using canned beans, the liquid from the can, and puree in a small food processor or blender until almost smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until just smooth. Taste for seasoning. We like extra lemon juice.

TIP: We once forgot to add the olive oil and didn't even realize it. So while the oil really ups the flavor you certainly can be judicious on how much you use.

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