Braised Lamb Stew

Braised Lamb Stew
Staff Writer
Braised Lamb Stew

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. It still has a fair amount of acidity and some sweetness, which was enhanced by the carrots. 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


In a mixing bowl, combine the spices and 2 tablespoons of olive oil (it will feel like a paste). Add the lamb and coat thoroughly with the spice mixture. Heat a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and when hot, brown the lamb, working in batches so you don’t crowd the pan.

When you’ve finished browning the lamb on all sides, add the onions and carrots to the pan with the water. Cook until the water has mostly burned off, stirring and scraping off any brown bits on the bottom. Add the tomatoes and the lamb and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down until you reach a bare simmer and cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours, or until the lamb is falling apart and tender, stirring occasionally. 

Lamb Stew Shopping Tip

Look for meat that is bright red. Red meat turns paler as the hemoglobin within releases oxygen – a sign that the meat has been sitting too long at the butcher's counter.

Lamb Stew Cooking Tip

When browning meat, resist the urge to move the meat – you must allow a flavorful crust to form over high heat. Once it has formed, the meat should slide freely with the shake of a pan.

Lamb Stew Wine Pairing

Most red wines, especially cabernet sauvignon, but also including cabernet franc, mourvèdre, Rhône blends, zinfandel, petite sirah, nebbiolo, nero d'avola, primitivo, barbera, and sangiovese.