(Full ingredient list and recipe instructions at bottom of this post.)

Nothing says “Spring!” less than six inches of snow still on the ground.

Regardless of the winter wonderland outdoors, we’re itching to cook with some springtime flavors. This lamb stew, while hearty enough for the chill weather, has the wonderfully bright flavors of lemon and green olives. And that’s on top of a whole range of aromatic Middle Eastern spices.

In the words of Brent: “This is the best thing we’ve made all winter.”

Let’s also hope it’s the last thing we make all winter. Since it’s now officially spring and all.

Let’s jump right in. First cube the lamb and prep the onions and garlic:

Lamb lemon olive stew

Once you’ve heated the oil in the pot, Add your meat to brown… in two batches. Never crowd browning meat. It’ll take three times as long.

Lamb lemon olive stew

Now, when we say “brown the meat,” we really mean brown. Many people just sorta “grey” it. Don’t. Get that heat really high, and leave the meat in till it smokes and gets crusty. It makes a huge difference in the final product.

Lamb lemon olive stew

Remove the meat and set it on a plate to rest…

Lamb lemon olive stew

Now saute the onions and garlic.

Lamb lemon olive stew

While they’re softening, quick slice up your carrots. Not too quick. Be careful with the knife of course. And also keep checking your onions and garlic…stir…stir…you don’t want them to scorch. Just soften and caramelize.

sliced carrots

You can peel and mince the ginger now too. Just peel with a vegetable peeler.

peeling ginger

And mince mince mince. (Setting you up for your own punchline there.)

diced fresh ginger

How’re those onions and garlic looking? If they’re releasing any liquid, use it to scrape up the burned meat bits on the bottom of the pot. Scrape…scrape…

browning onions

Add the carrots once the onions and garlic are softened. Give them a little saute.

Lamb lemon olive stew

Now add the white win and use it to scrape up any little bits left on the bottom of the pan.

Lamb lemon olive stew

Now the stock and tomatoes. Don’t the tomatoes look great? They’re from last summer.

Lamb lemon olive stew

Now all the spices. Doesn’t it look beautiful. All that color?

Lamb lemon olive stew

Stir it up. Stir. Stir.

Lamb lemon olive stew

While it’s coming back to a boil, get your lemon ready. Cut off the ends and quarter. (If it’s a big lemon, just use half.)

sliced lemons

sliced lemons

We know what you’re thinking…”you put the peel and everything in?!?” And yes, you do. The lemon slices melt down, and if any bitterness from the pith is released, it somehow just works with the other spice flavors. Trust us.

Lamb lemon olive stew

Once back to a boil, reduce the heat again. It’s gotta simmer for a few hours. Plenty of time to get the yogurt sauce ready. Chop the parsley (which goes into the yogurt sauce) and the cilantro (which is stirred right into the stew at the last minute of cooking.)

yogurt parsley sauce

Zest a lemon to add to the yogurt sauce too.

lemon zest

Sunshine in a pitcher.

yogurt parsley sauce

The stew needs to simmer and reduce for about 2 hours. The olives should only be added for the last 10 minutes or so. You don’t want them to cook into mush. There is a lot of salt in these olives too. You might wait to add the salt to the dish until after you add the olives.

Lamb lemon olive stew

After you’ve taken the stew off the heat, stir in the cilantro. You don’t want to cook it too much. Just warm it. Oh! Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods (if you can find them. If not, just alert your guests.)


We let guests add their own yogurt sauce. The cool yogurt really regulates all of the spices. A perfect combo.


What do you think? Does it look like spring yet?


Lamb Stew with Lemon & Green Olives


This flavorful lamb stew is brightened with lemon, green olives, and yogurt sauce.

Prep time: 30 Min
Cook time: 2 Hours30 Min
Total time: 3 Hours


3 lbs lamb shoulder, cut into 1 inch pieces

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 garlic cloves, sliced thin

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

3 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin

5 whole cardamom seed pods

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 3-inch cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon salt

4 large carrots, sliced thin

1 small lemon with ends cut off, sliced in half, then again ¼ slices. (If using large lemon, only use half.)

1 cup white wine

1  qt jar of diced tomatoes

3 cups chicken stock

1 ½ cups pitted fresh green olives

½ cup chopped cilantro leaves

For Sauce:

1 cup  chopped flat leaf parsley

1 ½ cups plain yogurt (not greek)

Zest of one lemon


Heat oil over medium high heat in heavy, large covered dutch oven. When oil begins to “ripple” add half of the lamb cubes. Brown thoroughly, stirring occasionally. Approximately five minutes. Once browned, transfer to paper towel lined plate with slotted spoon. Add second half of lamb cubes. Repeat.

Once all meat is browned and removed from pot, pour off any excess fat/oil if necessary, leaving about 3 tablespoons behind. Saute garlic and onions in the oil until soft. Add carrots and ginger. Sautee for an additional 2 minutes. Add lemon and white wine. Scrape up bits of burned meat from bottom of pot. Add spices. Add tomatoes and stock. Transfer meat back to pot, bring to boil. Reduce to very low simmer.

Simmer uncovered for approximately 2 hours, or until meat is very tender. If liquid level seems to drop far below meat, add more stock or water. Allow sauce to reduce and thicken during the last 30 minutes.

Add olives during the last 10 minutes of simmering.

Remove from heat. Stir in chopped fresh cilantro.

Make yogurt sauce: combine yogurt, chopped parsley and lemon zest. Stir.

Serve stew hot either in bowl or over couscous. Pour ¼ cup yogurt sauce over individual servings.



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  • By: jennifer becker

    don’t eat baby lambs, they are just as sweet as baby goats I’m surprised Josh and Brent do 🙁 🙁 🙁

  • By: Deb

    Tried it yesterday = delicious!!! Disclaimer: you must love spicy to love this (which I do). The lemons were my favorite part…..well, and the yogurt sauce…and the spices (the aroma in the kitchen was so great – I kept going outside to do yard work just so I could come back in and get hit with that aroma!) and the lamb and and and….. Added the balsamic vinegar with the spices – was I right?
    Thanks again for a great recipe and instructions that make me laugh. (I so agree with all of Paula Julian’s comments above. Mr Rogers ala Sharon Springs’s neighborhood.)

  • By: Renee Bross

    That recipe sounds incredible. It’s almost 1:00 AM, but I’d eat that for breakfast. I’m going to try that one soon! Thanks!

  • By: Paula Julian

    Yours are the only cooking instructions that make me laugh! Can not wait to see a cooking show. Actually, I think a show like the old days of Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin would be perfect for you guys. A cooking segment, a broadway showtune segment with Garth on the piano, a funny skit with Josh and Brent, stand-up with Doug, a craft segment with Brent. Or how about a Mr. Rodgers type show? You could walk around Sharon Springs and have different segments at the various shops? Kind of a who are the people in my neighborhood lol Or just an hour of Josh model walking? A girl can dream can’t she? 🙂

  • By: Amy Smith Wexler

    Might try it with beef a tender cut, not a fan of lamb its a bit gamey to me unless I brine it. Sounds really good though…

  • By: Matt Kovach

    it looks delicious but my partner can’t stand the taste of lamb, I love it though

  • By: melisshka

    You need some Moroccan preserved lemons for that stew, because it’s looking rather Moroccan.

  • By: Lauren

    hi…just curious. what’s “1 1/2 plain yogurt”? is that cups, cartons? thanks, this sounds DELICIOUS (except for the cilantro; i’ll leave that out). love you guys!

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