Sunday, June 3, 2012

Neck of Lamb with Carrots, Turnips and Peas

"Vesta" edited the women's pages of the Melbourne Argus for more than 30 years, from 1908 to 1938, and while she wrote about all sorts of social and political issues affecting women, the sections on "The Wardrobe" and "Kitchen and Pantry" where she answered correspondents' letters, were standards. 

"Vesta" assumed her readers knew the basics. They just needed a tip or two, like this one for casseroles: "Neck of lamb stewed with carrots, turnips and peas is another good dish. It takes about two hours to cook. About half an hour before serving, a tablespoonful of finely chopped mint scalded to make it brighter in colour, a couple of lumps of sugar and a little vinegar should be added to this stew." 

I suspect when "Vesta" had this at home, someone like Phryne's Mrs Butler did the cooking and it arrived at the table as Navarin of Lamb.

Neck of Lamb with Carrots, Turnips and Peas

1.25 kg lamb neck chops, or 750g diced lamb
2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
50g butter
1 cup water (or stock or white wine)
12 small onions, peeled
4 small carrots, peeled and sliced into thick rounds
4 small turnips, peeled and halved
1 cup green peas
1 tbsp mint (or parsley)
1 teaspoon sugar
white vinegar

Dust meat in seasoned flour. In a frypan, melt half the butter, brown the meat in batches, and remove to a saucepan. Add stock or water, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer.

In the frypan, melt the remaining butter, brown the onions, carrots and turnips and add to the lamb after it has cooked for 30-45 minutes.

After 30 minutes further cooking, stir in the peas, chopped mint, sugar and vinegar. Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes. Serves 4-6.

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