“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age,
which means never losing your enthusiasm.”
Aldous Huxley, English Writer, 1894-1963
Jim is my father-in-law and I would say he is the ultimate gentleman. Having been brought up by his mother and grandmother whilst his father was at war, he is warm, caring and sensitive. And I believe that he has brought up his children to be that way too. For someone who is now in his eighties, he is very fit. He plays golf twice weekly and walks most days with his wife, Ann.
He is also well-read. And boy, do we get to hear about what he reads! At each meal he will start a discussion about some controversial current affairs topic that will ascend into a heated debate, only to be punctured by a witty remark from a spectator, rendering a pool of laughter!
I first did this recipe whilst we were on holiday in Bayeux. The original recipe uses veal lamb, but I have adapted it for any lamb, as age should not be a barrier.
910g (2lb) boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2cm/1 inch cubes * 55g (2oz) unsalted butter * pinch of sugar * 1 carrot, finely diced * 1 onion, finely diced * 30g (1oz) plain flour * 220ml (7 floz) dry white wine * 1.15 ltr (2 pints) chicken stock * 395g (14oz) tinned tomatoes, chopped * 3 garlic cloves, crushed * 1 bouquet garni * 455g (1lb) chantenay carrots, scrubbed * 455g (1lb) baby parsnips, scrubbed * 455g (1lb) new potatoes, washed * 395g (14oz) eschalion shallots, peeled * 225g (8oz) sugar snap peas * salt & freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Heat the butter in a large ovenproof pan over a high heat, put in the lamb and seal on all sides. Sprinkle over the sugar and let the pieces of meat caramelise slightly. Lift the lamb out of the frying pan and into a warmed bowl. Put the diced carrots and onions in the pan and sweat until soft, then stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes until pale golden; keep stirring. Pour in the white wine, chicken stock, tomatoes, garlic and bouquet garni, bringing it to the boil, whilst stirring. Add the cooked lamb, cover and put into the oven for 45 minutes. Take out of the oven and remove the lamb with a slotted spoon and add to a warmed plate. Cover in foil and keep warm.
Make the sauce, by spooning the fat off the surface of the remaining liquid and discard this fat. Simmer the remaining (fatless) liquid until it is reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pass the liquid through a sieve into a frying-pan and then add the lamb. Cover and keep warm. Cook the vegetables; boil the carrots, parsnips and potatoes in salted water until tender. Add the onions and peas for the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain them. Finally, add all the vegetables to the lamb in the frying-pan. Simmer for 5 minutes; you may want to add a little water at your discretion to keep moist. Pour into a warmed, serving dish.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
This recipe comes from the section THE FRENCH CONNECTION, a selection of authentic French recipes.
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