Make Ahead

Lamb Stew with Butternut Squash

January  7, 2013
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 6 to 8
What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder, in 1-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 28 ounces chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash (1/2-inch)
  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a heavy, ovenproof Dutch oven or saucepan with a tight-fitting lid heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the lamb with salt, and when the oil is hot brown half of the cubes on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove the lamb to a plate with a slotted spoon and add more oil if necessary. Brown the rest of the lamb and then remove that from the pot as well.
  2. Turn down the heat to medium low and add the onions, carrots and garlic to the pot. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. (Make sure not to let the garlic color too much.)
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, stock, herbs and the browned lamb, along with any juices that have accumulated. Bring the stew to a boil over high heat, stirring gently with a wooden spoon to get up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
  4. When the stew comes to a boil, cover the pot and put it in the oven. Cook until the lamb is just tender, 2 to 3 hours.
  5. Stir the butternut squash into the stew, re-cover it and return the pot to the oven until the squash is tender, another 20 to 25 minutes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • SarahZiker
  • Willi Galloway
    Willi Galloway
  • jennifer pizzillo
    jennifer pizzillo
  • Wanda L. Floyd-Rawls
    Wanda L. Floyd-Rawls
  • KtMcB

37 Reviews

khammitte December 6, 2020
Wow. Almost didn't make this because it seemed short of ingredients. That would have been a mistake. Served on a mess of grits. Brilliant dish.
kgenner1 November 9, 2019
Tried this after reading the positive reviews below, with most saying you can’t get it wrong! I followed Ellen’s advice to add some red wine and the whole meal was delicious! Will be doing this again, perfect autumn recipe!
CailinH January 30, 2018
Just made this for dinner tonight, and it was so delicious! I followed all times/temps on the original recipe and it worked great. Stew took just about 2hrs and then I added the squash. So much flavor for so few ingredients! We ate it with homemade cider rye bread and it was a perfect combo. Will definitely add this to my regular list.
Amandadp October 16, 2017
I'm having this for lunch right now and it's delicious - simple and tasty. I used pureed tomatoes because it's what I had and I slow simmered on the stove for 90 minutes and then added the squash and cooked for 30 minutes more. My squash took a little longer to soften - maybe my pieces were bigger. Anyway, really like this!
SarahZiker December 15, 2015
I love this stew because after days in the fridge, and reheats is gets better! You literally cannot mess up this recipe.
Eva November 20, 2014
I made this last night and I'm glad I checked out other people's reviews regarding the time. I put it into a 375 oven for 30 minutes, then added the butternut squash and continued cooking it in the oven for another hour. It came out perfectly delicious. Great balance of flavors. Nothing was too overpowering.
Willi G. November 3, 2014
This was delicious. I added a big pinch of Aleppo pepper and a bit of ground coriander.
jennifer P. October 28, 2014
i made it with Goat Shoulder...and added mushrooms and some white potatoes to starch up the broth and added quick 2 min/2 tbsp roux for thickness too. So delicious...also served it over roasted cauliflower florets instead of noodles or bread...really added nutty roasted umami flavors to the broth that was a touch sweet from the squash and carrot. the goat cooked faster was free range and leaner than lamb.
Wanda L. October 22, 2014
I made this, substituting beef and making a couple of adjustments for the flavors like (Vidalia onion). It made a great first fall stew. My husband raved about it and got seconds.
Agnes October 12, 2014
This was incredibly tasty. I added more garlic and onions. I will add more squash the next time because I like my stew chunky.
KtMcB May 4, 2014
I made this tonight and it was fabulous! Very easy to make and I know it will be even better tomorrow. Mine was vey flavorful. I used lamb from Taylor Farm in Londonderry Vt. I added mushroom sauted in butter towards the end.
Sarah February 11, 2014
Have to be honest despite adding more garlic and probably more herbs than in the recipe I found this extremely bland and disappointing for how long it took to cook. Like other comments it was completely dry after 1.5 hours and I had to add a lot more water to save it. Using similar ingredients I could of made something far tastier.
Merrill S. February 11, 2014
I don't think others mentioned a problem with dryness (although a couple people used leg of lamb and noted that it takes less time to cook), and this amount of liquid really should be plenty. Does your pot have a tight-fitting lid? Also, see Ellen's comment below for some good ideas re: how to add more flavor.
Sarah February 12, 2014
Merrill thank you so much for responding-I think you may be spot on re the lid. I used a saucepan with its lid and that probably made the difference to the liquid. I think a dash of red wine would likely deepen the flavor very well as Ellen has suggested. I will try again as the lamb shoulder-a cut I would never normally buy- was delicious. Thank you!
Merrill S. February 12, 2014
Hope it turns out better the second time!
Robin J. January 22, 2014
Oh, this was sooo good. I made it for my book group, and the 5 of us (usually not very large eaters) finished it off. Made it according to the recipe, using good canned tomatoes, though I cut the squash into much larger pieces (maybe 2") and it still cooked in the stated time. Next time I will cut the carrots larger (more like the pictures), but not make any other changes.
za'atar November 18, 2013
This is a nice, hearty stew recipe. I used beef instead of lamb because I was feeding 30 and couldn't afford lamb shoulder, but I can't wait to try it again this winter with lamb. I didn't have room in the oven so I cooked it on the stove top at a low simmer for about 90 minutes.
NatWhit November 17, 2013
PS I didn't have any problem with squash-- it was tender within 20 - 25 minutes as suggested in the recipe.
NatWhit November 17, 2013
I just made this and it was delicious. I couldn't find lamb shoulder, so I used leg of lamb. As Hippo Flambe noted, it does not require as long to cook (I wish I'd read your comment earlier!). When I checked the stew at 2 hours, the lamb was falling apart, and while it hadn't turned dry and stringy yet, was probably finished at least a half hour before I checked on it-- in other words, after 1.5 hours. If I make this with leg of lamb again, I'll probably check it after about an hour or an hour and 15 minutes.
Ellen November 14, 2013
I made this for company last night. It was excellent! I di make a couple of changes. Chicken stock instead if beef, because canned beef stock is usually not great. I cubed and roasted the butternut squash ( olive oil, salt, pepper) it got nicely caramelized and I stirred into the stew just before serving. Added a splash of red wine at the end too.
kayakgirl November 14, 2013
oh, I also forgot (forgive the double post). I actually used pumpkin (peeled). I think any winter squash would work great- will also sub with blue hubbard in future.
kayakgirl November 14, 2013
Very good inspiration recipe. Quite tasty, hearty, versatile. I actually used venison instead of lamb with good results. To answer the inquiries about tomatoes: I am strongly opposed to fresh toms in the winter. I used some frozen ones instead (in the summer when abundant I freeze skin and all- works great in chilli and stews and is so much easier than canning). I think canned would just as well if not better than fresh. My only criticism was that the squash took closer to 1.5 hour to cook. This was actually a 2 night dinner (started it last night, put in fridge and finished tonight). I finally had to put on the stove top and boil it down to get dinner on the table.
annb123 November 1, 2013
I live full time in an RV and this receipe sounds devine made in a slow cooker. How many hours in a slow cooker?