Lamb, Fig and Olive Stew

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Not your Irish grandmother’s stew, this version was inspired by ingredients commonly used in the south of France: figs, green olives and herbes de Provence. To shorten the cooking time, we use ground lamb instead of lamb stew meat. Serve with toasted focaccia and a tossed salad.

Lamb, Fig and Olive Stew
photographer: Ken Burris
Nutritionist Tested & Approved

Time: 45 minutes

  • 1 pound lean ground lamb (see Kitchen Tip)

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons minced garlic , divided

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence (see Ingredient Note)

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine

  • 2 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium beef broth

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 4 plum tomatoes , diced

  • 1/2 cup chopped dried figs

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pitted green olives

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest

  1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add lamb and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a sieve set over a bowl to drain; discard the fat.

  2. Wipe out the pan; add oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup garlic and herbes de Provence and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until slightly reduced, 1 to 2 minutes.

  3. Combine broth and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to the pan, increase the heat to high and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes, figs, olives and pepper; return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the reserved lamb and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes.

  4. Combine the remaining 2 teaspoons garlic, parsley and lemon zest in a small bowl. Serve the stew topped with the parsley mixture.

  5. Serves Two Variation: Halve all the ingredients except the cornstarch. Prepare the recipe in a large saucepan instead of a Dutch oven and use 2 teaspoons cornstarch (instead of 2 ablespoons) in Step 3 to thicken the stew.

Kitchen tip: It’s not always easy to find lean lamb, but it’s easy to grind your own. Choose a lean cut, such as leg or loin, trim any excess fat and cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Pulse in a food processor until uniformly ground, being careful not to overprocess. Or ask your butcher to grind a lean cut for you.

Ingredient note: Herbes de Provence is a blend of aromatic herbs including thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram and sometimes lavender and/or aniseed. To make your own, mix equal amounts dried thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram and savory in a small jar. If desired, add a pinch of dried lavender and crushed aniseed.

Nutritional Facts

Serving Size
about 1 1/2 cups
25 g
10 g
Saturated Fat
2 g
27 g
77 mg
Dietary Fiber
3 g
815 mg
709 mg
4 servings
about 1 1/2 cups each
1 fruit
1 vegetable
4 medium-fat meat
1 fat

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