lamb cacciatore

6    |   
Prep Time:
20 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
1-1/4 hours

print this page


I know summer’s here and everyone (and every magazine* and every blog) is hyping up grilling, but I want to make a plea for one last stew of the season. We made it in my Italian cooking class over the weekend and it was a huge hit, hot weather be damned. And the truth is I don’t have a garden or deck where I can cook outside, so I have to wait until we visit some friends “in the country” (aka right outside the city) to get my ya-yas out on their grill. Thus I ask, what’s so bad about putting some meat in a pot with tomatoes and herbs and olives and letting it cook slowly while you sit in the chair (or by the pool) and read the paper*? I can tell you that anyone you serve it to will have no quibble with this stew in summer. They’ll be too busy devouring it.

This is great with broccolini vinaigrette  alongside and buttered wide, flat noodles underneath.

*please note plugs for reading the news the old-fashioned way!


3 pounds boneless lamb stew, from shoulder or leg
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup Italian parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves
olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1-1/2 cups pinot grigio or other dry white wine
1 large can (28 oz) chopped or (for a smoother sauce) crushed tomatoes
4 ounces black Italian olives (see note), rinsed


Remove meat from package and cut into 1-inch pieces, trimming away excess fat; place in a bowl. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grindings of pepper and toss well. Mince together parsley leaves and garlic. Sprinkle over meat, toss again, then let stand, covered, at room temperature for 1 hour.

In a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, warm 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the meat in batches and cook, turning as needed, until browned on all sides, adding more oil to pot as necessary. When last batch of meat has been removed, add onion and rosemary to pot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in wine and let boil until almost evaporated, then stir in tomatoes and 1/2 cup water and return meat to pot with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until meat is tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

When meat is tender remove from heat, stir in olives and let stand, uncovered, until olives are hot through, about 5 minutes.

note: saracena olives are a good choice (pitted or unpitted), or the shriveled ones usually labeled dry-cured olives. I find kalamatas a bit too salty for this dish.