Lamb, Fig & Olive Stew

4.2 (21)
Lamb, Fig & Olive Stew

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.

Yield: 4 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each
Active Time: 45
Total Time: 45


  • 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.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.

Tips & Notes

  • 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.


Nutrition Per Serving

calories 317
fat 10 g (2 g sat, 5 g mono)
cholesterol 73 mg
carbohydrates 24 g
protein 28 g
fiber 3 g
sodium 718 mg
potassium 701 mg

Nutrition Bonus Zinc (32% daily value), Vitamin C (30%), Potassium (20% dv), Iron (17% dv), Vitamin A (15%).

Carbohydrate Serving 1 1/2

Exchanges 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, 4 medium-fat meat, 1 fat

From EatingWell November/December 2008