30-Minute Lamb Stew Recipe

While dining on roasted lamb is pretty traditional for the Easter holiday, lamb stew is a dish we tend to associate more with the fall season. The rich taste of this meat makes for a dish that recipe developer Jennine Bryant calls " a great autumn dinner ... warming and tasty." This lamb stew recipe, she tells us, was inspired by the Greek dish known as moussaka, a meal that she loves but doesn't always have time to make since the traditional preparation can be time-consuming. This recipe, meanwhile takes all those wonderful flavors and produces a meal in a mere 30 minutes.

If you're not familiar with using eggplant in a stew or as an accompaniment to lamb, Bryant explains that this is quite a common pairing in the UK as well as in Greece. She calls the combo "warming and comforting," noting that "The creamy freshness of the eggplant complements the rich gamey flavor of the lamb." As for this stew, she says "It's one of those dishes where you just keep popping back for another spoonful despite how full you feel."

Gather up ingredients for the stew

While lamb chops, shanks, and leg of lamb can be sometimes prohibitively expensive, this stew is made with less pricey ground lamb. The stew also has a few veggies, as all good stews do: the aforementioned eggplant, along with an onion, a can of tomatoes, and a few spoonfuls of tomato purée. You'll need some olive oil for cooking, and you'll be using garlic, a bay leaf, brown sugar, and cinnamon to season the stew. If you're familiar with Greek cuisine, then you'll know that this last spice is pretty key. "The cinnamon provides a bit more complexity to the dish," Bryant notes, saying it provides "a spicy warmth that gives [the lamb stew] an authentic Greek flavor."

As a final touch, you'll be topping the stew with crumbled feta cheese and fresh basil. One note on the feta cheese: Bryant used a 7-ounce block, which is equivalent to about 1 ⅓ cup of the crumbled stuff. If you have an 8-ounce block, though, there's no need to do any math. Just crumble the whole thing on top for a little extra cheesiness!

Prep the veggies for cooking

Whenever you have fresh veggies involved, it's all but given that there's going to be some prep work. In this instance, though, it's all pretty simple. 

First, you'll need to peel and chop the onion. Then, chop the eggplant into bite-sized chunks. As to whether or not you need to peel it, that's entirely up to you. On the one hand, eggplant peel can be a little bitter. Then again, it's really good for you and packed full of antioxidants, as the New York Times reports. As a general guideline, larger, older eggplants tend to have tougher skin, so those may need to be peeled just to improve the textural experience when you're digging in later. Smaller, fresher ones can be more easily eaten with the peel left on, as Bryant did for this dish.

As long as you have the chopping block out, you might as well slice up the basil, too. You could also use a clean pair of kitchen shears or scissors to snip it into bits.

Simmer the stew until the flavors meld

Start off by frying the onion in the oil for 2 minutes until it starts to soften. At this point, add the garlic, then the lamb, then the eggplant. 

Cook the meat and veggies, stirring every once in a while to make sure nothing's sticking or burning, until the lamb is browned. Then, it's time to add in both the chopped tomatoes and tomato purée, along with the bay leaf, cinnamon, sugar, and as much (or as little) salt and pepper as you wish. Simmer the stew, giving it a stir every so often, for 20 to 25 minutes.

Top the stew with feta and basil

Once the stew is done cooking, remove the bay leaf, since no one really wants to bite into one of those and it's already lent its flavor to the meal. Now sprinkle the stew with the decidedly more edible basil along with the crumbled feta cheese. Spoon it into serving bowls or plates. 

If you're wondering what to serve with this stew, Bryant tells us that you have a few options that work especially well here. "Honestly it's best to keep things simple with this dish, which also adds to the ease of making it as a quick dinner." She feels it goes best with buttered bread — perhaps a crusty French loaf or ciabatta — and a simple green salad. Other light, fresh, and healthy sides could work well with the rich flavor fo this stew also.

So will this stew make for good leftovers? It most definitely does! Bryant tells us that she makes this dish as something to eat over the course of a few days, even noting that "It tastes better after a day or two of marinating!"  Just be sure to store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Bryant advises that you save the fresh basil to add after you've reheated the dish since it will wilt while sitting around otherwise.

30-Minute Lamb Stew Recipe
5 from 38 ratings
This recipe takes all of the wonderful Greek-inspired flavors of feta, lamb, and eggplant and produces a warm, hearty, and filling meal in a mere 30 minutes.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Lamb/eggplant stew with bread
Total time: 30 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 large eggplant, chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 7 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  1. Fry the chopped onion in olive oil for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, ground lamb, and chopped eggplant in that order.
  3. Brown the lamb, then stir in the chopped tomatoes, bay leaf, tomato purée, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Allow everything to simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove the bay leaf, then sprinkle the feta cheese and chopped basil over the stew before serving.
  6. Serve with fresh bread if desired.
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