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Braised Lamb Stew

Braised Lamb Stew

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Yasmin Fahr

Braised Lamb Stew

After receiving a new Dutch oven for Christmas (yay!), I was excited to put it to use with this easy stew. Feel free to add other herbs like rosemary or thyme to it and vegetables like chickpeas or beans, but this lamb stew is delicious as is.

Because of my love for tomatoes, I decided to use that as my braising liquid instead of broth. We served it with crispy potatoes, but it would also work well with rice, couscous, or boiled potatoes.

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  • 1 ground cumin
  • 1 turmeric
  • 1 hot paprika
  • 1/2 cayenne
  • 1/2 cardamom (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 boneless leg of lamb or shoulder, cut into one-inch pieces, at room temperature
  • 8 pearl onions, peeled
  • 1 peeled and sliced carrots, in half-inch pieces
  • 1/4 water or broth
  • 26 chopped tomatoes, preferably Pomi brand

Recipe Summary

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground saffron, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 6 whole dried Persian limes, pierced
  • 1 cup dried kidney beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 cups finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cups finely chopped garlic chives or scallions
  • 2 cups finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 4 tablespoons dried Persian lime powder or 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a medium stockpot over medium heat. Add lamb, onions, and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is no longer pink and onions are softened, about 20 minutes. Add salt, pepper, turmeric, saffron water, whole dried Persian limes, and kidney beans cook a few minutes more. Add the water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add chopped parsley, chives, coriander, and fenugreek. Cook, stirring frequently, until they are wilted, about 10 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and cook, stirring constantly, until the herbs are very fragrant, about 10 minutes more.

Add sauteed herbs and lime powder to lamb mixture. Cover simmer until meat and beans are tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Uncover stew, and cook until beans are very tender, and stew has thickened slightly. Adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve hot.

Recipe Summary

  • 6 lamb shanks
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle red wine
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
  • 5 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

Sprinkle shanks with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook shanks until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer shanks to plate.

Add onions, carrots and garlic to pot and saute until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in wine, tomatoes, chicken broth and beef broth. Season with rosemary and thyme. Return shanks to pot, pressing down to submerge. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover, and simmer until meat is tender, about 2 hours.

Remove cover from pot. Simmer about 20 minutes longer. Transfer shanks to platter, place in a warm oven. Boil juices in pot until thickened, about 15 minutes. Spoon over shanks.

Braising/Stewing Lamb

Braising and stewing involve the slow cooking of meat in a liquid. This technique tenderizes and softens firm or tough cuts and allows for rich and subtle blending of the meat flavors with those of the liquid and seasonings.

The main differences between braising and stewing are:

    The size of the meat used: braising requires the use of whole, market ready cuts while the stewing process requires that small pieces of meat be used.

The technique for braising market ready cuts of lamb is also known as pot roasting. It is the preferred method for cooking tougher cuts of lamb. Dry heat-cooking methods, such as oven roasting, do not allow the internal temperature of the tougher cuts to become high enough to break down the fat and connective tissues. If the meat remains in the oven long enough to break down the tough fibers, then the outer portions of the meat become overcooked, dry, and tough. Braising/pot-roasting is a much more effective means for breaking down the tough fibers than any dry heat cooking method. The internal temperature of the meat reaches a level that is sufficiently high to melt the connective tissues and fat. The moisture in the pan prevents the outer portions of the meat from drying out.

The lamb cuts that benefit the most from braising/pot-roasting are the lamb shanks and the tougher cuts from the shoulder and flank. The leg of lamb is occasionally braised, but it is more often oven roasted. Tender cuts from the loin and rib should always be reserved for dry heat cooking methods.

The following steps may be used for braising tougher cuts of lamb:

    The pan used for braising should be only slightly larger than the cut of lamb so that only a small quantity of liquid will be required for braising.

Lamb stew is a dish that is often prepared with tougher cuts of lamb that have been cut into small pieces. Many of the same cuts that are suitable for braising are ideal as stew meat. Lamb cuts from the shoulder and flank are often used as well as meat from the lamb shanks.

There are many variations of lamb stew including recipes that are basically the same as beef stew except that lamb is used instead of beef. Other types of lamb stew include a variety of dishes native to the Mediterranean, Middle East, and northern Africa that are cooked in a tagine, which is an earthenware pot with a conical lid. Tagine is also the Moroccan word for stew. Some of these recipes include ingredients such as dried prunes, onions, garlic, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, lemon, saffron, cumin, turmeric, and honey. They are often served with couscous or lentils.

The following steps may be used to prepare lamb stew:

    The lamb meat should trimmed of as much fat as possible and cut into one-inch cubes.

1. Preheat the oven to 170C fan-forced or 190C conventional.

2. In a large heavy pot over high heat, brown the pieces of lamb in their own fat (add some olive oil if necessary) in batches so as not to crowd the pan, and make sure you get good deep colour on the meat. Season generously and set aside.

3. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and allspice (and oil if needed) and cook for four minutes. Add the carrots, celery and parsnips and cook for 10 minutes.

4. Add the meat back to the pot with the wine and reduce by half, then add the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, add the barley, then cover and cook in the oven for one-and-a-half hours. Remove the lid for the last half hour of cooking.

5. Remove from the oven and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You can reduce the sauce if you like (before correcting the seasoning). Serve as is, or toss in some blanched winter greens for a complete meal.

Tip Shoulder is great for braises, but try to buy it in one piece if you can so you can cut large dice. This will allow you to caramelise the outside but also end up with tender, rich meat.

Styling Andrea Geisler
Textured linen Manon

French Onion-Braised Lamb With Garlic and Rosemary

Apple cider vinegar cooks down with onions until caramelized to flavor the lamb with a sour-sweet flavor enhanced by aromatic rosemary. If the lamb you buy is boneless, aim for around 3 pounds in weight. If it’s bone-in, aim for around 4 pounds. This preparation also works well with the same cut of beef or pork.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Keep a heatproof bowl nearby. Season the lamb liberally with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the lamb and cook, turning every 6 to 8 minutes or so, until the meat is evenly golden brown all over, about 20 minutes total. Transfer the lamb to a plate, and if there is more than 1 tablespoon fat in the pot, pour off the excess into the heatproof bowl.

Return the pot to medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onions, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pot to keep the browned bits from burning, until uniformly soft and translucent, 16 to 18 minutes. The onions will be browned, but that color will be from the browned bits on the bottom mixing with their moisture, not from caramelization. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until evaporated, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic cloves and rosemary and cook for about 1 minute more.

Pour in the vinegar and broth and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to pick up the browned bits. Return the lamb to the pot and bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover the pot, and place it in the oven. Cook for 3 hours the meat should easily fall apart when prodded with a spoon, and the onions will have reduced to a sludgy sauce.

Transfer the lamb to a serving platter it will be very tender and may fall apart, so be careful when lifting it. Using tongs, twist and break apart the meat into large chunks and remove and discard the interior bone. Spoon the onions and garlic around the meat, sprinkle everything with a hefty pinch of flaky salt and serve.

For This Braised Lamb Stew You Will Need:

  • lamb
  • oil
  • onion
  • garlic
  • dry red wine
  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • peas
  • canned diced tomatoes
  • seasoning blend
  • salt
  • pepper
  • flour
  • water

For this recipe, I used a North African (*affiliate) spice blend . Feel free to use seasoning blends of your choice. Some great options would be (*affiliate) Harissa or Moroccan .

What Is the Best Cut of Lamb For Stew

For this recipe, I used a leg of lamb. It is a little lower in fat, and when cooked at a low temperature it becomes very tender. Alternatively, you could use the shoulder.

I like to buy a large leg, especially if you can find it on sale. Cut it into chunks. Keep what you need for this recipe, and portion the rest into freezer bags. Pop in the freezer for use later.

Best Red Wine For Cooking

I like to use a nice dry red wine. It does not have to be expensive. I never cook with a wine I would not drink. After all, you only need 1 cup for this recipe. The rest you can enjoy with your dinner.

You will need: for Braised Lamb and Vegetable Stew

For frying meat:
1kg mutton/lamb
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp mixed herbs
2 tbsp flour
oil as needed

For the stew:
360g button mushrooms
3 carrots
3 potatoes
2 onions
1.5 pint stock (use 1 stock cube and dissolve in 1.5 pints of water)
2 tsp all purpose seasoning
1 tbsp English mustard
1 tbsp Worcester sauce
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Marmite (optional, if you add this use 1 tsp of salt instead of 1.5 tsp as this is quite salty)
1.5 tsp salt (reduce this to 1 tsp if you are using Marmite)
1 tsp garlic salt
2.5 tsp cornflour (dissolve in 2 tsp of cold water)
1 tbsp butter (optional, adds velvety texture)
3 – 4 bay leaves
1 sprig of rosemary
2 – 3 sprigs of thyme

The Nasty Bits: Lamb Tripe Stew Recipe

Pig's stomach and beef tripe are fairly common finds in ethnic markets, but it's not everyday that I come across lamb tripe. Sitting next to an assortment of livers, the packages of lamb tripe were neatly stacked and as usual, dirt-cheap. Without knowing exactly what I'd make of it, I claimed a pack of the tripe and rushed home in anticipation. Unfurled on my cutting board, the organ was a sight to behold.

Though we often refer to ruminants as possessing four stomachs, each stomach is actually a section of the larger whole. Beef tripe is sold as such: honeycomb and omasum, for instance, are packaged separately. Since lamb is much smaller in size, all the discrete sections of its stomach—the tender, succulent honeycomb tripe, the spongy, furry rumen, and the flatter omasum—appear in one continuous swath.

To celebrate an innard I'd never eaten before, I embarked on a recipe I've never tried. For months now, I've been obsessed with the idea of sealing my pots with dough, an age-old method for low and slow cooking. Molded just to fit the shape of the cooking vessel, a rope of dough provides a formidable seal to preserve the moisture of a stew.

For Paula Wolfert, the phrase, "begin four days in advance" is not uncommon. Happily, her Tripe and Pig's Feet Stew requires only two days' worth of preparation. Lacking trotters, I tossed in a couple of snouts that I happened to have on hand with the assumption that the same gelatinous texture could be achieved.

Working with offal is a wonderful way to indulge on some of the finer things in life. Since the lamb's tripe was bought for next to nothing, I splurged on the finest saffron and used an entire bottle of Riesling with which to stew the tripe and pork. As the process for making the soup spanned two days, I was left with plenty of downtime to record each step along the way.

Friday, 11 p.m.

The snouts are frozen solid in one gargantuan, piggy block in the freezer. Nothing a big butcher knife can't handle. Like a mountaineer, I take to the snouts with a few precisely placed hacks. The frozen snouts tumble from the larger block dull thuds resound as they hit the sink. Defrosted and dried, the snouts are now ready to be salted overnight.

Saturday, 2 p.m.

Due to reasons for which I am 20% culpable, I have just begun to work with the tripe. It needs to be soaked in water and vinegar for one hour, then parboiled before being sealed in the pot.

Saturday, 4 p.m.

The tripe has been soaked, parboiled, and cut into one-inch sections. The mirepoix is cut and ready to go. I pour the entire contents of the wine bottle into the pot the bottle takes heaving glugs as it is emptied, producing a most satisfying noise. Without precise instructions as to how wet my rope of dough ought to be, I play around with the proportions until I form a rope capable of sticking firmly to the pot. I worry that the nubby dough will fall from the rim of the lid, but it stays securely put. Carefully, I slide the pot into the oven and close the door.

Saturday, 11 p.m.

All afternoon and evening, the pot sits in the oven without so much as a peep. Then, in the quiet of the night, I open the door to the oven and listen to the sound of the liquid, just barely bubbling inside like a subdued waterfall display. I put the back of my hand to the wall of the dutch oven: warm, but only just so. Besides the browning color of the doughy seal, the slight sound of the simmering liquid is the only indication that something transformative must be happening inside the vessel. Slowly, the faint smell of lamb and saffron escapes from the oven. The tripe is not due to finish for another five hours, so I set my alarm for four in the morning.

Sunday, 1 a.m.

I wake in a cold sweat with the premonition that something has gone awry. Bolting from bed, I rush to the kitchen. The oven has been turned off! Opening the door, I put my hand to the pot. It is stone-cold, as if cooking had ceased hours ago. Irrational, murderous thoughts enter my brain. Who has been tampering with my tripe? Setting my alarm for five in the morning, I calculate that no more than an hour or so could have been lost from the cooking time.

Sunday, 5 a.m.

I turn off the oven in the kitchen and stumble back to bed. Tripe for breakfast, anyone?

Sunday Evening

Cheered on by an offal-loving audience, I liberate the pot from its doughy confines. We polish off the tripe with loaves of crusty baguettes and bottles of Riesling. The texture of the lamb tripe is meltingly tender with just a hint of chewiness each tendril, each pocket in the honeycomb seems to have absorbed the saffron and wine. The snouts, gelatinous and meaty, add body to an intensely lamb-laden broth. Tripe bliss is mine.

Braised Lamb Stew

This braised lamb stew is a recipe that has been changed up a number of times. It started with short ribs and slowly became a braised lamb stew. Over the years I have added and taken away ingredients and finally came up with the ultimate braised lamb. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. It’s a favorite in our home.


  • 3 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • 1 pound Lamb Stew Meat
  • 1 whole Onion, Sliced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Sliced
  • 10 whole Miniature Carrots
  • ½ pounds Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • ½ cups Honey
  • 1 cup Red Wine
  • 2 cups Stock


In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Brown the lamb. Remove and set aside, but keep all the oil and lamb fat in the pot.

Add onion, garlic, carrot, mushrooms, parsley, cinnamon and thyme to the pan and cook until softened and fragrant, about 5-10 minutes.

Pour in the honey, red wine, and stock, bring to a boil then return meat to the pan and put the pot in the oven. Make sure to put the lid on loosely, you want to allow the steam to escape.

The lamb takes about 2-3 hours to get soft. When you can pierce it with a fork easily, take out the lamb, bring sauce to a boil and reduce sauce down so it’s thicker. Add the lamb back in and serve.

Red Wine-Braised Lamb Neck

Recipe adapted from Chris Shepherd, One Fifth, Houston, TX

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes, plus cooling time

Cook Time: 3 hours and 35 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours, plus cooling time


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 pounds lamb neck, cut into 2-inch pieces (22 pieces)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 celery stalks, roughly chopped

2 carrots, roughly chopped

1 yellow onion, roughly chopped

2 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a 6-quart Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Season the lamb neck pieces liberally with salt and pepper. Sear, turning as needed, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a plate.

2. Add the celery, carrots and onion to the pot, and cook, stirring as needed, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic. Cook until fragrant, 2 minutes, then add the tomato paste and cook until caramelized, 5 minutes more.

3. Deglaze the pot with the chicken stock and red wine. Bring to a simmer, then add the seared lamb, thyme and plum tomatoes. Return to a simmer, then cover and place in the oven. Cook for 2½ hours, then remove the lid and stir in the shallots. Continue cooking for 30 minutes more.

4. Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the lamb and shallots to a bowl. Strain the cooking liquid, discarding the vegetable solids, then return it to the pot, along with the cooked lamb and shallots, cherry tomatoes and olives. Season with salt and pepper, then serve.

Tagine of Lamb
( Lamb Stew )