Spring Lamb Stew with Green Garlic is the perfect example of a comfort food that's wonderful during the warmer weather months. This hearty lamb stew is packed with fresh greens and bright flavors.This is one of the lamb courses I served at the garden party I hosted for True Aussie Lamb and Beef.
My goal was to create a hearty, comforting stew highlighting the lamb, and maintain a light, fresh vibe at the same time — and I think this Spring Lamb Stew with Green Garlic is exactly that.
While this is definitely a comfort food meal, with a light broth, it’s not heavy or too rich, and all of the fresh ingredients are light and vibrant.
What is spring green garlic and what does it taste like?
The spring garlic in this recipe is as much of a star ingredient as the lamb!
- Spring green garlic is garlic that hasn't fully matured --before garlic grows into separate cloves, it starts out as a green plant, with a stalk, leaves, and shoots, similar to green onions (scallions).
- It’s mostly available at the Farmers Market, and it typically shows up in early April.
- The flavor of spring garlic is truly special with a fresh, mild, and sweet taste. It’s much less pungent than the garlic we typically see and use.
I found some at my local Farmers Market when I was making this recipe -- while still very young, the bulbs had started to form, though not into separate cloves. They are often a pretty purplish color.
What else is in this recipe?
- lamb shoulder. This is the perfect cut to use for stews, as it’s a bit tough and requires a longer cooking time to become tender.
- vegetable stock. You could also use lamb stock, but I prefer vegetable because it's lighter.
- onion. Well, it’s the foundation for pretty much everything I cook. 🙂
- fresh thyme. This adds a lovely aromatic, earthy, lemony flavor.
- baby carrots. The carrots are slightly sweet, hearty and add a punch of color to the stew.
- scallions. These tend to keep a bit of their crunch, which is lovely.
- rainbow chard. Chard leaves are tender and their flavor is similar to beet greens and spinach. The stems keep a bit of crunch during the cooking process and taste a bit like bok choy. Using the rainbow chard is beautiful because of the pink, red, and yellow colors of the stems and veins.
- sugar snap peas. These add a fantastic crunchy texture and more sweetness.
How to Make it
- Brown the lamb, and then cook it in stock until it’s tender, a bit more than an hour.
- Cook the carrots, scallions, garlic greens, garlic cloves, chard and peas in a separate pan to keep them bright.
- Combine everything in one pot and finish seasoning.
(More detailed instructions are below.)
What to serve with it
While this recipe can certainly suffice for the entire meal, it would be lovely to add a salad and garlic bread.
If you can't get your hands on green garlic, you can substitute it with an extra tablespoon of scallions and 4 medium-sized garlic cloves.
Spring Lamb Stew with Green Garlic is an excellent weeknight dinner, and is also lovely for casual entertaining on the weekends!
Spring Lamb Stew with Green Garlic
- 2½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into bite-sized pieces
- salt and pepper
- 1½ cups vegetable stock
- ½ of a large yellow onion, peeled
- a few sprigs fresh thyme, washed and dried
- 1½ cups baby carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
- 1½ cups scallions (both green and white portions), washed and dried, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon spring garlic greens, washed and dried, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon spring garlic bulb, peeled, minced
- 4 cups (about ¼ pound) packed rainbow chard, washed and dried, finely chopped
- 2 cups (about ½ pound) sugar snap peas, washed and dried, thinly sliced
- Coat the bottom of a large pot (ideally a Dutch Oven), with 1½ tablespoons of the olive oil, over medium-high heat. Generously season the lamb with salt and pepper. Once the pot has preheated, add the lamb. Stirring often, cook the lamb just until the pieces are browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Do not overcrowd the pot — you should do this in two batches.
- Add the stock, the onion half and thyme sprigs to the pot. Turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently for 1 hour.
- While the lamb is cooking, coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with the remaining olive oil, and place it over medium-low heat. Add the carrots, cover and cook until they’re beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Then add the scallions, garlic greens and garlic, and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring often. Mix in the chard and peas and stir to blend. Continue to sauté just until the chard has wilted, about 2 minutes. Set aside until the lamb has cooked for 1 hour.
- Once the lamb has simmered for an hour, remove the onion and thyme sprigs from the pot, and add the vegetable mixture to it. Stir to combine and continue to simmer, covered, until the lamb is very tender, about 15 more minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve. (Here's How to Season to Taste.)
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