Spicy Lamb Stew with Butternut Squash

With shorter days and colder nights, this richly flavorful lamb stew with butternut squash is a great way to fill up and stay warm.

Spicy Lamb Stew with Butternut Squash Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 6.


  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound lean lamb shoulder, on the bone, trimmed of fat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp Sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 pounds of butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 14-oz can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried mint


1 Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper on the meat. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil. Add the meat and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until all the juices evaporate, about 7 minutes. Add the onion and cook stirring, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

2 Add the tomato paste, 1 Tbsp of paprika and 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring until the mixture begins to carmelize. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and simmer until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes.

3 Add the squash, garbanzo beans, tomato, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and enough water to just cover the ingredients. Cover and cook until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes.

4 Stir in the lemon juice and remove from the heat. Season with salt. Transfer the stew to a shallow serving dish.

5 Rub the 2 teaspoons of paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and dried mint through a fine sieve. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil on medium heat, until a speck of spice dropped into the oil sizzles. Add the sieved spices and stir for just an instant. Swirl the seasoned oil into the stew, stir once and serve hot.

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Recipe adapted from one in Food and Wine magazine.


  1. Andrea Middleton

    Hey, what about interpreting this recipe for a slow cooker? Any ideas?

  2. Lady Amalthea

    Oh, yummy. I love Lamb stews.

  3. Matt

    How seasonal. Butternut squash is a gift that few people use wisely.

  4. farmgirl

    You can’t have too many lamb recipes! : ) And this one sounds delish. Thanks!

  5. Rachel

    Mmm, I tried this last night and it was wonderful! I think I put a bit too much cayenne in there (it was HOT) but I happen to like it that way. :-) Thanks for sharing. I LOVE your website.

  6. Mina Y.

    Do you cut the lamb into cubes and leave it on the bone?

  7. Elise

    Hi Mina,

    Leave some meat on the bones, cut the rest into 1-inch cubes, make sure you cook both the meat and the bones as much flavor comes out of those bones.

  8. Mina

    OHHHHHHHh. We had the butcher cut the lamb shoulder and he left it on the bone — and there wasn’t that much meat to cut off the bone so we left it on and cooked it that way. I don’t think it was as good. But it is pretty tasty!

  9. Elise

    Hi Mina,

    That should have been perfect. There is much more flavor when the pieces are bone-in. And by the time the cooking is done the meat should be falling off the bone.

  10. Julie

    I made this for dinner tonight (only I have to admit I used pork stew meat since that was what I had on hand). I’m currently living in Germany and it is pretty easy to come by pork stew meat here! I also substituted curry for the cayenne (again, what I had on hand) and served the stew over batsami rice. We all enjoyed it and found that the longer it sat the better it tasted!

  11. Stephanie

    I would also love to know how to adjust this recipe for a slow cooker!

  12. Sandy

    Thanks so much for this recipe. I made it yesterday and it was very tasty.

  13. Deb

    What can I substitute for the Garbanzo Beans, my husband is allergic, maybe white beans?

    Sounds good to me. ~Elise

  14. Alaska Girl

    Can I make this with caribou or moose instead of lamb?

    Why not? If you try it, let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  15. Hannah

    Thanks Elise, this inspired me yesterday (I’m incapable of actually following a recipe!), and was delicious with cinnamon instead of mint.

  16. kimberly

    Made this last week. Didn’t have mint but followed the rest of the recipe. Everyone loved it – will definitely be repeating this one during the winter.

  17. Vicky

    Thought that I had some lamb for stew, but didn’t. So I made this with pork stew meat instead. The only other change that I made was to double the amount of garbanzo beans cuz we are big fans. It was delicious the first day, and amazing the second day! It was a great send-off for the last butternut squash from our CSA. Thanks, Elise.

  18. Kira

    I made this fabulous stew recipe and added a roasted green pepper and used Ancho and Chipotle chili instead of smoked paprika and red pepper flakes for a more smokey Southwest flavor. I added just a hint of cinnamon too. Delish!

    Thanks Elise ~ this is just what I was looking for ~ a lamb stew with butternut squash. Love your website. One of my favorite recipes is your Dad’s Fisherman Stew. It’s quick and super tasty.

  19. Cindy Su

    I was looking at another lamb stew recipe and so “accidentally” bought lamb shank instead of lamb shoulder but actually it turned out really delicious! The marrow in the lamb shank bones added quite a bit of flavor, so I’m happy for the “mistake”!

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