Navarin of Lamb Stew with California Prunes

Prune It is a healthy eating campaign designed to educate consumers to understand the role that California Prunes can play in helping to help reduce the fat and sugar content across a wide range of recipes.  When blended into a puree, prunes offer a useful fat replacer in cooking by adding fat-like (but fat-free) characteristics that also work to enhance the flavours in both sweet and savoury dishes.

In addition, the naturally occurring sugars present in California Prunes can also be used to provide a natural replacement for some of the processed sugars that traditionally feature in sweet recipes.  And because of their high fibre content and ability to add bulk to dishes, California Prunes also have a role to play in reducing portion size without compromising on filling power or taste.

Makes: 4Prep Time: 1 hourCook Time: 1 hour 20


  • 400g lamb, chopped into small (2 inch) pieces
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 60g butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 small turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2  bottle of red wine
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 800ml stock
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 20 California Prunes
  • 1 tsp dark brown sugar
  • For the garnish
  • 15 shallots
  • 400g button mushrooms
  • 30g butter
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 8 rashers dry-cured back bacon
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 400ml stock


  1. Pre heat oven to 200°C.
  2. Using a large frying pan, soften the onions in olive oil and put them into a heavy casserole dish, the kind that will go on top of the stove without breaking. Sear the meat in batches by dry frying and add to the onions.
  3. Add the butter and let it melt over the meat and onions before sprinkling on the flour turning it all together.
  4. Now add the garlic to the frying pan, cook it briefly then deglaze the pan with the red wine. Let it bubble for a minute and pour it into the casserole, followed by the stock, tomato purée and the thyme.
  5. Add the turnips to the casserole, bring the whole thing to simmering point and then put it into the oven for about an hour.
  6. Add the California Prunes and put back into the oven for a further 45 minutes approximately.
  7. Allow to cool until you need it. It will happily stay in the fridge for a day or two.

To garnish:

  1. Simmer the shallots in stock for about five minutes then add the mushrooms and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  2. Strain, reserving the stock. Melt the butter in a frying pan and stir in the sugar. Put the cooked mushrooms and shallots into this, turning them to make them slightly caramelised.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved stock, stirring it all together (save the rest of the stock for soup). Allow it to cool until you are ready to serve.
  4. Dry fry the bacon until it is crispy.
  5. Before serving re-heat the casserole and stir in the prepared shallot and mushrooms. To serve, make sure that everyone gets a few whole mushrooms and shallots. Top each serving with some crispy bacon and parsley.


For a vegetarian option, substitute the lamb with 400g borlotti beans or chick peas and the bacon with 100g chopped peanuts or pistachios, toasted under the grill for 5 minutes just before serving.