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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Lamb Breast Stew with Olives

Lamb breast is not a common cut. It's also sometimes labeled lamb ribs. I got mine because I bought a whole lamb a while back. There's a fair bit of fat and a lot of connective tissue. It benefits from long slow braising. You can roast them too, like pork ribs, but all that cartilage makes for a particularly rich stew. If you can find some lamb ribs, you really should try this. It is marvelous.

Lamb Stew with Olives
(serves 6)

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 to 2 ½ pounds lamb breast, cut into ribs
salt and pepper
2 oz. pancetta, diced
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered (about 1 pound)
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks (about 1 pound)
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Season lamb with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a dutch oven. Brown lamb on all sides. Push to the side and add pancetta. When it starts to render its fat and sizzle, add the onions. Saute onions for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and a generous sprinkling of black pepper. Add water to almost cover the lamb. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes (or longer). About 45 minutes before you will serve the stew, add the potatoes and olives. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender. Season generously with pepper. You probably won't need additional salt because the olives and pancetta are salty.