Serves 6 to 8
I like to purchase a whole piece of boneless lamb shoulder and cut it into chunks myself. It takes a few extra minutes, but the result is much more consistent. Meat packaged as “stew” meat in the grocery store is often odds and ends from different cuts, which will cook at different rates in the pot- some pieces will end up tender and others chewy. You could substitute smoked paprika for the regular sweet paprika here if you want a more intense flavor. I like to serve this stew with mashed potatoes or boiled rice tossed with some butter and grated cheese.
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
- 3 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch chunks
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- One 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes crushed by hand
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Sicilian oregano on the branch
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Season the lamb with 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat, and add the oil. When the oil is hot, brown the lamb in batches, about 5 minutes each. Remove the pieces to a plate as they brown.
Once all of the lamb is out of the pot, add the onion and celery. Cook until the vegetables begin to wilt, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the paprika, and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano, and 2 cups water. Add the lamb chunks back to the pot, and season with salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover, and cook until the lamb is almost tender, about 1 hour. Add the squash (and up to 1 cup water to cover it), and cook, uncovered, until the lamb and squash are both tender, about 20 minutes more. Stir in the parsley, remove the bay leaves, and serve.