One pot and four ingredients is all you need to make lamb stew. Lots of flavor for little effort. Super hearty and comforting, and (like all local recipes), best served with a big bowl of rice!
Lamb stew, ready to eat!
We love to eat very flavorful, stewy, and saucy dishes in Hawaii. And we always eat them with a big bowl of rice...
All Kinds Of Stews In Hawaii
We eat local style beef stew over rice, chicken adobo over rice, and shoyu chicken over rice. We even devour chili over rice! I never heard of eating chili with cornbread or chili like a soup until I moved to NYC for college...to this day, I still think it's odd to not eat chili with rice ^_^
In Hawaii, we get super good local boar, axis deer, and lamb...just to mention a few! Lamb stew is one of the many kinds of stews we make. You can buy lamb at most markets here (even Costco Hawaii has lamb), and at meat shops and butchers in Hawaii (super neat how we're getting more meat places that specialize in local meats).
All you need is: garlic, lamb, chili flakes, and canned tomatoes
Why This Lamb Stew?
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Because it's so easy. It requires only one pot and four ingredients:
Aside from the lamb itself, we always have the other three ingredients in our home pantry.
*The canned whole peeled tomatoes also come in handy for this beef stew recipe.
This lamb stew is also simple to prepare (more on that below), but it sounds fancy. Every time I make it for my husband or parents, everyone is like ooooh we're having lamb! I am a big fan of dishes that sound fancy or complex, but are actually really easy heheh.
Lamb shoulder / lamb stew meat
Which Part Of The Lamb?
This recipe calls for lamb stew meat. It's sold at the market/butcher labeled as, "lamb stew meat" or as "lamb shoulder."
If the option is available, I ask the butcher to cut the lamb into 1-inch chunks (saves me from doing additional work at home). But you can also buy a 2-pound boneless lamb shoulder piece and cut it into smaller chunks yourself.
Make sure to add the garlic halfway through the lamb browning process.
Lamb Stew Method
The "official" recipe is at the bottom of this post, but I always like to include this method part which explains the recipe in more detail.
You have all your ingredients? Good! Ok, add some olive oil in a big pot. Turn the stove to medium heat. When the olive oil is warm, add the lamb chunks (which you've already seasoned with salt and pepper) and brown them on all sides. Make sure you brown ALL sides of the lamb. This whole browning process takes about 10 minutes. You might have to brown in two batches depending how big your pot is. When it's halfway done browning, add the smashed garlic and let the garlic brown as well. Careful you don't burn the garlic! The reason we add garlic in the middle (and not in the beginning with the lamb) is because the garlic will finish browning before the lamb. Adding garlic in halfway through ensures both the garlic and lamb finish browning at the same time.
Then you sprinkle in red pepper flakes. And pour in the can of whole peeled tomatoes along with 1/2 cup of water. Bring everything to a boil, then turn the stove to low heat. Give everything a good stir around and put the lid on the pot. Let simmer for 1-hour.
After the hour is up, take off the lid, stir around a bit more. Smash up any tomatoes that haven't completely broken down yet (use a wooden stirring spoon to do this). Turn the heat up to medium and let it cook another 30-45 minutes. The whole point of cooking on slightly higher heat without the lid on is to reduce the sauce. You want to keep cooking till the sauce gets thick and gravy-esque. Once the stew reaches the preferred texture/thickness, turn off the stove, season with more salt and pepper until it's to your liking. Spoon the lamb stew over a bowl of rice, and enjoy!
Pouring in the can of whole peeled tomatoes (these will break down on their own).
Substitutions and Additions
- I like the ratio of 2-pounds lamb stew meat with 1 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes. It makes for lots of sauce that I love spooning over rice. If you prefer the stew less saucy/more meaty, just increase the amount of lamb used.
- If you don't like heat, skip the red pepper flakes. I love the red pepper flakes because adds a nice, subtle heat in this dish. Alternatively, you can replace the red pepper flakes with ground black pepper.
- Love garlic? The recipe calls for a whole head of garlic, but you can definitely increase that amount! Sometimes we use two whole heads of garlic.
- Feel free to also add carrots and potatoes to this recipe (add them in at the same time you add the garlic).
After 1 hour of cooking with the lid on over low heat. Next, you cook for another 45-minutes with the lid off over medium heat.
- The whole peeled tomatoes break down on their own during the first hour of lidded simmering/cooking. If there are still large unbroken tomato pieces after that hour, use the back of a wooden spoon to break it up.
- Make sure to get the lamb meat nice and deeply browned on all sides before adding the tomatoes. This makes a big difference in the finished stew. Make sure to also salt and pepper the lamb before browning! These may seem like small skippable steps, but they're what make the final dish so good.
- The recipe calls for smashed (not minced) garlic. Smashing keeps them in larger pieces...the best is when you get a spoonful of stew with a chunk of smashed garlic. It literally melts in your mouth.
All pau (finished)! Super saucy.
Lamb Stew Recipe
Recipe below ^_^
- Pat the lamb meat dry, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the lamb and brown on all sides (this takes about 10 minutes total). After 5 minutes of browning, add the garlic and brown that as well (be careful not to burn the garlic).
- Add the red pepper flakes and whole peeled tomatoes. Add half cup of water, mix and bring everything to a boil. Then quickly turn it down to simmer. Put a lid on the pot, and let simmer on low heat for an hour.
- After an hour, remove the lid and use a wooden spoon to break up any whole tomatoes that aren't yet broken down. Let the stew cook on medium heat for another 45 minutes. Cook till the stew reduces to a thicker, gravy-like texture. Season with salt and pepper. Eat with rice ^_^