Greek Lamb Stew

Total Time:
3 hr 15 min
Prep:
15 min
Cook:
3 hr

Yield:
about 10 servings
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 5 1/2 pounds boned shoulder of lamb, trimmed of excess fat and cut into cubes about 1 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches
  • 5 medium onions, sliced finely
  • Salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, minced
  • Leaves from 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthways, and then halved across
  • 3 (14.5 ounces) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups lamb, beef stock or water
  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ditalini or other small tubular pasta
  • 2/3 pound feta cheese
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, oregano or basil leaves
Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Into the largest saucepan or casserole you have that will go into the oven, pour 3 tablespoons of the oil. Brown the meat in batches over high heat and remove with a slotted spoon to a plate nearby. You may need more oil as you do this. The onions will certainly need it, so pour the remaining oil or add more, add the onions, sprinkling a little salt over them and cook then until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, celery, thyme, and oregano. After a couple of minutes or so, when the smell of garlic wafts up, remove half the mixture. Add the meat to the mixture in the pan, cover with the remaining half, add the bay leaves, carrots, tomatoes, stock and wine. I use a big but flattish casserole and this amount of liquid covers the meat, but if you find you need more liquid, add water- you want a lot of liquid, because you will, eventually, be cooking some pasta in it. Bring to a boil, remove scum, and let bubble for about 3 minutes. Then cover, transfer to the oven, and bake for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or cook on a very low heat. The meat should be tender and yielding. Remove the carrots (and eat, cook's treat) and bay leaves, too, if you want, and season, to taste, with the salt and pepper.

Of course you can proceed to the final stage now, but I am presuming you're not going to. In which case, let the stew cool and keep it in the refrigerator until you want it. Skim the fat off the top, and do remember to take it out of the refrigerator a good 1 to 2 hours before you cook it again. You can reheat this in the oven, but because the pasta will be put in on the stove, I tend to heat it there. Make sure the stew is piping hot. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. When it boils, add the salt and then pasta. Cook this until it's nearly but not quite cooked; it should have a couple of minutes still to go.

Then drain the pasta and add it quickly to the bubbling juices in the casserole, making sure first that there are enough bubbling juices. You don't want the meat to be drowned, but you want enough for the pasta to be covered. The pasta will absorb some of the liquid as it finishes cooking, of course.

In a couple of minutes, the pasta should be cooked. Crumble some feta and put in a bowl with the chopped parsley, oregano, or basil. Stir to combine and then leave the spoon with it, so that people can sprinkle the herb-spiked cheese over the stew as they wish. Ladle the stew into shallow soup bowls.


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    So delicious!!!!!! My granddaughter (age 6) is begging me to make it again!!!:)
    I made this for a party of eight and it was so delicious! I added grated romano cheese as well for an extra tang. Serve with hot bread to dunk in the flavorfulbroth. Yummy!!
    Ah - the domestic goddess strikes again. Nigella's recipes are always crowd pleasers and this one is particularly delicious on a cold winter's night. Whatever you do, don't skip the feta cheese - it's vital. Enjoy.
    This was absolutely delicious. I think I will try it using some lamb shanks i just bought on sale!
    All of my family members give this recipe a BIG thumbs up! I cooked one night before and let it set in the refrigerator over night! So yummy! Even my 4 year old asked me to cook it again!
    Made this recipe as written. Nothing to write home about or serve to guests.
    Made this for company today and everyone LOVED it. I cooked the meat night before and let it sit in fridge overnight. Added more carrot and left them in the stew; used a little less pasta. Taste and add S&P before serving. DEEELISH!!! Don't forget the feta which tossed with all three herbs.
    Made this recipe with beef instead of lamb since my wife won't eat lamb. Also didn't add the wine since I didn't have it on hand. I used a splash of red wine vinegar for the acidity that would have come from the wine. Used fresh mint as the herb instead of basil or oregano. This dish is fabulous!
    This lamb stew has become an entertaining favorite in our household. You make it a day ahead so that the flavors meld and simply re-heat the day of serving. It makes fantastic leftovers as well. My husband, who is Greek, adores this dish. When my brother-in-law travelled from Greece last year with two male friends, I served this stew. They all raved about it, saying that it was better than what is served in Greece, and they all requested it for lunch the next day! A+++++ recipe, Nigella!
    This was such a pleasure for me and my honey to eat over several days. The flavor developed beautifully and the meat became so tender. I also kept just a few of the fatty and chewy pieces of the meat instead of throwing them away, but that's my preference for the texture and I love the flavor of fat. Indeed, I had to cut the recipe down 25% for just the two of us. I also added more carrots for color and flavor. Game plan for next-time: Add more carrots, cauliflower & some green beans, and cut back on the pasta. That way you can get your veggies in. A great all in one dish! Thanks Nigella!
    I made this stew with Beef Chuck roast, cut into cubes (about 3.5 lbs--sized down the rest of the recipe accordingly)--the only other change I made was to dust the meat with flour before browning it. This is such good comfort food! The feta adds a nice note. When I see lamb on sale, I'll try it that way, too! This is a new favorite...
    The flavor was so great I just regret that i didn't folow the direction and I put too much pasta in it. Also I think I will pour the stew over pasta per serving...so it will last longer. YUM YUM
    I am not a big fan of lamb, but this stew was a delight in every way. I halved the recipe (I made it for 2) and had great success. The trick is NOT to underestimate the herbed feta upon serving. The cheese and basil or parsley really provide fantastic flavor, and I cooked my noodles in the stew rather than beforehand. This is formal enough to serve to guests. I will be making it again!
    My family loved this!! We substituted beef for lamb, but it still tasted very flavorful. The feta is a nice touch.
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