Recipe: Simplest Spiced Lamb Stew (2024)

  • Recipes

Sara Kate Gillingham

Sara Kate Gillingham

Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.

updated Feb 3, 2020





We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Recipe: Simplest Spiced Lamb Stew (1)

This is the light, fragrant stew created with spring celebrations in mind. Unlike the rich beef stews you cozied up with in winter, this one opts for a subtly spiced, brothy base studded with ultra-tender chunks of lamb and vegetables. It’s casual enough for a simple Sunday supper, although if you spoon it over a bowl of buttery couscous and top with a splash of fresh herbs, it becomes the centerpiece of a dinner party.

Part of what’s so simple about this dish is the ingredient list; there are lots of substitution opportunities here. If you don’t have nutmeg, for example, don’t sweat it. You can even drop the cinnamon if you don’t have any or it’s not your thing, although cinnamon is a classic spice pairing for lamb. A half-teaspoon of cumin or even allspice might be nice. As for the wine, substitute stock or beer if you have to. This same technique works for beef as well.

For this recipe I took the concept of Marge Piercy’s Cinnamon Lamb in her book, Pesach for the Rest of Us, and applied it to a stew, since lamb is a favorite choice for slow-simmered dishes.

Tester’s Notes

Cinnamon is one of the basic spices we keep stashed in the pantry, most often pulled out for baking. This recipe shows how it shines in something savory. Not only is it a classic pairing with lamb, but it’s also the star ingredient that makes this stew sing.

This recipe starts by tossing the pieces of lamb with a simple spice rub made with cinnamon and nutmeg. While 30 minutes will certainly impart a wonderful flavor, I recommend allotting as much time for this step as you can. The longer the meat sits with the rub, the more it’s infused with the warm cinnamon fragrance.

Kelli, April 2017

Simplest Cinnamon Lamb Stew

Serves 6

2 pounds lamb stew meat
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half moons
2 celery stalks, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup dry red wine
1 bay leaf
Cooked couscous or rice, for serving (optional)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)

Place the lamb, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and pepper in a large bowl, and stir so the lamb is evenly coated. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in batches, add the lamb in a single layer and sear the meat on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes per batch. Transfer the meat to a large, clean bowl. Repeat with the remaining lamb.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and cook for 1 minute more. Add the wine and scrape any brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes and their juices, bay leaf, and seared lamb and any accumulated juices, and stir to combine.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered until the lamb is fork-tender, about 2 hours. If desired, serve over couscous or rice sprinkled with parsley.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

This recipe has been updated. Originally published April 2009.

Filed in:

Canned Goods




Freezer Friendly


Recipe: Simplest Spiced Lamb Stew (2024)


What spices to use for lamb? ›

Mix together the paprika, thyme, basil, cumin, and curry powder, if desired, in a small bowl. When ready to use, evenly sprinkle a light coating onto lamb or beef and pat into surface of the meat. For the most flavorful results, season meat and place in a resealable plastic bag; refrigerate 2 hours before cooking.

What spices go in lamb casserole? ›

Your family will love the warm flavors in this easy spiced lamb stew. A combination of ginger, cinnamon, and cumin are added to the stew along with tomatoes, garlic, and a bit of lemon juice.

What is the most tender lamb for stew? ›

The best cuts for stewing are shoulder, leg or neck fillet – it needs to quite a hard-working muscle with some fat marbling through it that will break down during the slow cooking to create tender meat. It's also best with economical cuts that are boneless – keep saddle, rack and lamb chops for roasting.

What is the most popular seasoning for lamb? ›

Fresh rosemary, fresh garlic, lemon zest, black pepper, and salt are simple but amazing flavors that pair amazingly with the lamb! Each of these ingredients adds its unique warmth and depth to enhance the flavor of the dish.

What enhances the flavor of lamb? ›

Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper. You can marinate them to add flavor. Popular choices include rosemary, garlic, and thyme.

How do you fix bland lamb stew? ›

How to fix a tasteless stew - Quora. Personally I would add as many aromatics and flavor enhancing substances that I like. If the stew is already finished, then you can sauté onions, garlic peppers, celery and carrots then add them to the stew. I would also add some herbs and finally salt and pepper to taste.

What does Gordon Ramsay serve with lamb? ›

This simply prepared (it's rubbed in a paste of just Dijon mustard, garlic, and herbs) rack of lamb is best served with equally unfussy vegetable sides, like grilled asparagus or baby artichokes.

Should you brown lamb before stewing? ›

Tips for slow cooking

Brown the lamb first, in batches if necessary. This will maintain a high heat in the pan and caramelise the juices, which will improve the colour and flavour of the meat.

What can I use to thicken lamb stew? ›

The flour helps to thicken a stew as it cooks. Whisk a teaspoon of flour in a little cold water to make a slurry, then stir into the stew as it's cooking. Don't add dry flour directly to the stew as it may clump. After adding the slurry, bring the stew to boil.

Why is my lamb stew meat tough? ›

If meat in a stew is tough, it just needs to be cooked longer. With enough time, any cut of meat will get fall apart tender, it's normal to simmer a stew for 2-3 hours to get to done.

What stock to use with lamb? ›

You can use chicken as a stock that is close and will not change the flavor of the lamb. You can do a combination of beef and chicken stock (keep it light on the beef).

Do you need to brown lamb before slow cooking? ›

Searing the lamb before slow cooking is a great way to lock in the flavor and create a nice crispy crust. All you need to do is brown the outside on a hot pan until the surface is slightly crisp.

Is it better to cook lamb slow or fast? ›

Lower temp = more succulent meat – Tough cuts like lamb shoulder need slow-cooking to tenderise them. The lower the roasting temperature, the less total moisture evaporation and thus juicier meat.

What is the season for lamb? ›

Most baby lambs are born in spring and are ready for the food chain around six months later – meaning autumn is the time when British, grass-fed lamb is most plentiful. However, some producers make sure their lambs are born earlier so they are ready for the table at Easter.

Which herb is traditionally served with lamb? ›

Yogurt and mint is another traditional Greek seasoning for lamb. What are the best ingredients/herbs to cook with lamb to reduce its meaty taste? Rosemary and Thyme are two that come to mind but the best herb of all with lamb is mint. Mint mint glorious mint.

Does lamb need to be seasoned? ›

You do not need to marinate lamb leg for long hours if you don't have the time. But first, make sure you season the lamb well with kosher salt and black pepper. And for best flavor, give the meat a good rub with fresh garlic, spices, and dried herbs (see my lamb seasoning below).

How is lamb best prepared? ›

General Tips on How to Cook Lamb

Fattier cuts of lamb should be roasted long and slow at a low temperature, while leaner cuts of meat should be cooked at a high temperature for the first several minutes and then at a lower temperature the rest of the time.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Trent Wehner

Last Updated:

Views: 6202

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Trent Wehner

Birthday: 1993-03-14

Address: 872 Kevin Squares, New Codyville, AK 01785-0416

Phone: +18698800304764

Job: Senior Farming Developer

Hobby: Paintball, Calligraphy, Hunting, Flying disc, Lapidary, Rafting, Inline skating

Introduction: My name is Trent Wehner, I am a talented, brainy, zealous, light, funny, gleaming, attractive person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.