This is another national French dish, of very ancient origin, and popular throughout France.
Put the lard in a saucepan and, when hot, put in the pieces of meat. Season with salt and pepper, and a good pinch of sugar, which helps to give a good colour to the sauce. Cook on a brisk fire, turning the pieces of meat occasionally, and brown thoroughly. Now pour away most of the lard, and sprinkle the meat with the flour. Cook, while continually moving the meat about with the spoon, till the flour is quite brown. Add the water, stir for a few minutes, so that the flour does not adhere to the bottom of the saucepan, but is well mixed with the water. Bring to the boil, season with salt and peppercorns, add the clove of garlic, peeled and well crushed with the blade of a knife, and simmer very gently for 1 hour.
Peel the pickling onions carefully and cook in a little hot fat till they are a golden colour. Peel the potatoes, which should be more or less the same size (preferably new potatoes) and put them in cold water till they are wanted.
Remove the pieces of mutton from the saucepan, and put them in a clean saucepan. Skim all the scum from the sauce, and pour it over the mutton through a sieve. Bring to the boil and add the cooked onions. A quarter of an hour after, add the potatoes, well dried in a cloth. See that they are well covered with the sauce. Cover closely and simmer gently for ¾ of an hour. A few minutes before serving, remove the saucepan from the fire, and skim any grease that may rise to the surface. To serve, put the pieces of mutton in the middle of a hot dish, surround with the potatoes and onions, and pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
Unless thoroughly and properly skimmed, the navarin is apt to be greasy. Tomatoes and tomato purée are sometimes used in navarins, but as a rule the above recipe is the more popular. A Navarin Printanier is made in the same way, except that besides new potatoes and onions, new carrots, turnips, peas and French beans are added to it.