Spring Lamb Stew (Navarin)

Tender lamb pairs perfectly with spring vegetables in a light gravy bright with lemon zest and fresh parsley – c’est si bon!

A take on the traditional French Easter stew, navarin, this recipe packs in sprightly flavor while keeping the vegetables crisp and vibrant by steaming them separately. As with all stews, it is even better on the second day!

Spring Lamb Stew

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Lamb shoulder is best for stews, as it is flavorful and becomes beautifully tender with the longer cooking time. Use a dry white wine for the gravy – a white Bordeaux is always perfect! – and serve the same wine with the stew. Chose early spring turnips that are small and tender for the best flavor. If you prefer, you can substitute peas for the edamame. If you can’t find frozen pearl onions and don’t want the hassle of peeling fresh ones, omit them.


  • 21/2 – 3 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 1″ chunks
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly smashed
  • A few sprigs fresh thyme with stalks or 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound baby turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2″ julienne
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into slices
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, white portion cut into slivers (reserve the fronds for garnish)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen edamame
  • 2 cups pearl onions, optional
  • 4 scallions, sliced into 1/2” pieces
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped


Preheat oven to 350º F. Trim excess fat from exterior of lamb shoulder and cut into 1″ cubes. Toss lamb in flour lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. In a Dutch over over medium heat, brown lamb in extra virgin olive oil. Remove browned lamb from Dutch over and set aside.

Sauté diced onions in Dutch oven until translucent, about 5 minutes, adding a little more extra virgin olive oil if the pan is too dry. Toss in garlic and sauté until fragrant, another 2 minutes or so. Add tomato paste and sauté for another minute to lightly toast and then add the thyme for one minute to bloom.

Pour in white wine and deglaze, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add chicken stock and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and check the seasoning, adjust salt and pepper to taste. Stir in and browned lamb. Cover Dutch oven and transfer to preheated oven for 1.5-2 hours, until lamb is very tender.

While the lamb cooks, prepare the vegetables. Layer all the vegetables in a large steamer basket in the following order: carrots on the bottom then turnips, fennel, pearl onions, edamame, and top with scallions. Wait to steam them until the lamb is out of the oven.

Once the lamb is tender, remove from oven. Check seasoning again and adjust salt and pepper to taste if needed. With the vegetable steamer in a large pot, add enough water to just touch the bottom of the steamer and bring to a boil. Cover and steam for 7-8 minutes until tender. Add steamed vegetables to the lamb and gently stir to distribute without breaking them up.

Immediately before serving, stir through lemon zest and parsley. Serve over egg noodles and garnish with reserved fennel fronds.

2 thoughts on “Spring Lamb Stew (Navarin)

  1. I made this tonight and I loved it! It’s not quite like anything I’ve had before – filling, but not heavy, and the lemon gives it such a bright, spring-time flavor! Delightful and highly recommended.


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