Simple Italian Lamb Stew Recipe

Simple, no-effort dishes, with clear uncomplicated flavours are perfect for summer and winter alike. I went looking for a recipe to cook some good Karoo lamb shoulder chops. Grilling would have toughened them, so some slow cooking was required. Revisiting my Marcella Hazan Italian cook books, I found a couple of straightforward recipes that sounded good and put them both together. The result was delicious, an intense flavour that took me straight back to a country restaurant in Italy, where they know how to get the best from their ingredients without over-embellishing them. The meat is browned in oil with garlic and rosemary, half a cup of white wine is poured over, then it is left to cook slowly for an hour and a half. You end up with tender meat and the exquisitely flavoured, reduced juices to drizzle over it. Make some potatoes, cubed and roasted in olive oil to accompany it, some salad and a perfect Sunday lunch fit for a king is yours for very little effort.

Italian Lamb Stew Recipe

You can use most cuts of lamb for this recipe, from large hunks on the bone, to chops, to boneless cubes for stewing - the only difference is the amount of cooking time needed to make the lamb tender. For large pieces about two hours, smaller pieces 1 – 1 ½ hours should be enough, but check for tenderness – the meat should start coming away from the bone easily.

750g-900g (1 ¾ - 2lb) lamb
4-5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 sprig of rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
125ml/ ½ cup dry white wine
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan, to which you have a lid, over a medium-high heat. Put in the lamb, garlic and rosemary and brown the lamb on all sides. (Don’t let the garlic darken too much). Once the lamb is nicely browned, add salt and freshly ground pepper then pour over all the wine. Let the wine bubble and turn the meat over in it a couple of times, then turn down the heat and put on the lid. Cook at a gentle simmer for 1-2 hours depending on the size of the meat pieces. Turn the meat once or twice during this time. If all the liquid has evaporated before the end of the cooking time, add two tablespoons of water. Once the lamb feels tender when you pierce it with a fork, take it out on to a warm serving dish. Draw off most of the fat with a spoon. If there is a lot of liquid in the pan, turn up the heat and let it bubble to reduce. If there is hardly any, add a couple of tablespoons of water and scrape up the cooking residue to make a delicious gravy. Pour this over the lamb and serve immediately.

There are lots of variations on this basic recipe. If you ever tire of this simple version, try adding one of the following:

450g/1lb fresh French/green beans topped and tailed and added after the wine has bubbled, before you turn the heat down.
225g/8oz tinned tomatoes with their juice, added after the wine has bubbled, before you turn the heat down.
1 red pepper peeled, deseeded and cut into thin strips added to the lamb near the end of its cooking time

After the holiday season of too much rich food and complex flavours this was the breath of fresh air I was looking for - simple and straightforward but satisfying. My mouth is still watering at the memory!

Users Reading this article are also interested in:
Top Searches on Soup Recipe:
Lamb Stew Recipe Stew Recipe Lamb
About The Author, Kit M. Heathcock
Kit Heathcock writes and copyedits for a number of websites from her site Original Orange. She is currently working on a major travel website Just the Planet and is also co-creator of A Flower Gallery. She worked and travelled in Italy, is passionate about food and is lucky enough to work from home and still have time to cook, write and look after her children.