Hayley’s Lamb Stew
Confession time: until I met my friend Hayley when I was 29 years old, I’d never had lamb. Gasp, right? I grew up in Florida eating seafood; we’re not exactly known for our lamb here, so it just went under my food radar until one glorious winter day in Baltimore.
Hayley made a simple, hearty winter stew with lamb, potatoes, green beans, and – the unexpected star of the show – a cinnamon stick.
I’ve added a few things to her original recipe: garlic, onion, a splash of red wine, and bone broth, but it’s still a cinch to throw together. And, true to the original, the only spice is a cinnamon stick. We’ve still got a couple months of winter left, so put this in your recipe queue while it’s still chilly out. You will be glad you did. Lamb was a first for my four year old, but she loved it and asked for seconds.
Grab your favorite pot and let’s get started. If you’ve got a well-loved hand-me-down pot from your grandmother, that’s all the better.
Seriously, I love this Dutch oven and all its glorious imperfection. I remember my grandmother using it to cook her straight-from-the-garden vegetables, which makes it that much more special.
If you’re like me and are new to lamb, it’s like a gamey cross between pork and beef. First, you’ll cut your lamb into rough cubes and sear them a batch at a time in a bit of olive oil. Avoid over-crowding them in your pot because they’ll steam instead of brown.
You can skip this step and just sauté them all at once if you’re pressed for time, but browning definitely adds flavor.
Next, grab your chopped onion and garlic. Add them to the lamb and gently cook until the onion softens and the garlic becomes fragrant.
Then we’ll add the potatoes, stock, wine, and the cinnamon stick and simmer for an hour or so until your stew looks like this:
I used homemade bone broth and Shiraz since it’s what I had and seemed fitting for my Australian lamb, but you could probably use beer instead of wine, all stock, or even just water – the stew is that flavorful on its own.
It’s a hearty, rustic dish that comes together so easily. Serve with crusty bread to sop up the delicious sauce.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Hayley's Lamb Stew
Easy spiced lamb stew with potatoes and green beans
1.5 lb lamb, cubed*
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 c. red wine
1 1/2 c. chicken stock
3 baking potatoes, scrubbed and roughly chopped
1 cinnamon stick
8 oz green beans, ends removed
salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large dutch oven or stew pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the lamb in batches. Be sure to let it sear and brown - don't move it around in the pot too much.
2. When all the lamb is browned, return it to the pot and add the onion. Sauté until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds for so, just until it comes fragrant.
3. Add the wine, stock, and potatoes to the stew. Bring just to a gentle boil and immediately reduce heat to a low simmer. Toss in the cinnamon stick - just push it down so it's submerged.
4. Let the stew gently cook for at least an hour or until the lamb pulls apart easily. During the last half hour to cooking, add the green beans. Cook until green beans are to your taste (I like mine tender-crisp).
5. Salt and pepper as desired and serve with crusty bread.
*Any inexpensive, tough cut is fine since it'll be cooking for awhile. I use shoulder meat and throw the bones in for flavor.
Adapted from my friend Hayley
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