Lamb and turnips are a classic combination. Both are available year-round, but we associate them especially with spring. Braising them in apple cider adds a tangy sweetness. I used a dry hard cider; you could use a non-alcoholic cider, but it would be a much sweeter dish. I like to use the cheapest, toughest cuts of lamb on the bone for stews, because they are very flavorful and become perfectly tender after a long braise.
Large fall turnips, such as the purple-topped variety usually found in grocery stores, are some of the longest-keeping vegetables that would have sustained our ancestors well into spring. They can be bitter, but blanching them for a few minutes helps. Spring turnips are delicate and sweet, and can be used whole in this recipe. It would be great to use the turnip greens as well, but the turnips I had on hand this week came without greens.
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