Slow Cooker

Martha Stewart's Slow-Cooker Persian Lamb Stew

June 13, 2021
20 Ratings
Photo by Stephen Kent Johnson
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 8 hours
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

Reprinted from Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker. Copyright © 2017 by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Stephen Kent Johnson. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Here a whole lamb shoulder is braised in the slow cooker until it’s silky and supple and easy to shred. A few aromatics give it distinctive flavor, among them saffron and dried lime, available at Middle Eastern markets and from online grocers. Serve the lamb over red or white quinoa, and garnish with pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and chopped fresh dill. —Food52

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: 10 Slow-Cooker Recipes Made for Fall TV Binges. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 lamb shoulder (4 to 5 pounds)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 dried lime
  • 1 large pinch saffron threads
  • Cooked quinoa, for serving
  • Coarsely chopped fresh dill, pomegranate seeds, and unsalted pistachios, for garnish
  1. Preheat a 5-to 6-quart slow cooker.
  2. Season lamb with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high. Add lamb and cook until golden brown all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker.
  3. Add onions, carrots, celery, and dill weed to Dutch oven and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker. Add garlic, thyme, wine, orange juice, dried lime, and saffron. Cover and cook on low, until meat is falling apart and shreds easily, 7 to 8 hours (or on high for 5 to 6 hours). Skim fat from surface. Serve stew over quinoa, topped with dill, pomegranate seeds, and pistachios.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Laura415
  • Lynn
  • murrboysmom
  • Nikki

7 Reviews

Lynn January 17, 2024
REALLY????? I followed this exactly and if it were not for doctoring this up It would have been my worst recipe fail EVER. This dish needs salt!!! it was totally bland! By adding a tsp of salt to the sauce and re-salting the meat once cooked, we were able to eat this. Also very fatty. After 8 hours in the slow cooker, I defatted the meat, then refrigerated the meat and sauce separately all day in order to let the fat harden and rise to the surface of the sauce for removal. I added the aforementioned 1 tsp of salt to the sauce along with some reduced balsamic vinegar. I resalted the 100% flavorless meat. I put the sauce in a pan on the stovetop to reduce, then used an immersion blender to puree the sauce with the vegetables. Final step was putting cold meat in a pyrex pan, pouring on the pureed reduced sauce, covering with foil, then reheating in 325 degree oven. The dish was OK after all the tweaking but the recipe as published was HORRIBLE
murrboysmom March 21, 2022
I make this once a month. You need dried limes. I ordered them on Amazon and one bag lasts for months. I love the flavor they impart.
Laura415 December 8, 2018
If you don't have dried limes:
Use fresh lime but don't use a whole one because it will flavor the dish too much. Use a few strips of lime skin and save the juice to flavor the dish at the end as needed. Dried lime is a subtle flavor and scent.
Use the skin of salt-preserved lemons or limes. Will give a bit of salt seasoning to it and is a complex flavor
Dry your own limes in a 200º oven for a few hours or slices in a dehydrator until leathery.
Some folks online suggest using sour grape juice or verjuice available.
Some folks suggested Sumac which is sour.

Tldr; Make your own oven-dried limes.
Use fresh lime skin (few strips) using the juice to season not to cook..
Look for other sour ingredients to sub: Sumac, Preserved lemons, Sour grape juice.
Go to a Middle Eastern, Indian or Persian grocery. Many of these ingredients and flavors are found there.
Nikki September 28, 2018
Amazon the dried limes guys. They are inexpensive and last forever
Kim September 23, 2018
Yes, please tell me what I can substitute for dried lime. Ain't nobody got time to run all over town looking for strange ingredients.
Marcie September 23, 2018
Sounds so divine. If you only have the Dutch oven, how long would you cook it in the oven and at what temperature?
123456 September 23, 2018
Where do I get a dried lime? What can I substitute for it?