Basque Lamb Stew


Marinated, slow-cooked, lamb stew with lamb shoulder, garlic, rosemary, onion, paprika, roasted bell peppers, tomato, parsley, red wine, and chicken stock.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Are you familiar with Basque cooking?

Basque Country is a region bordering Spain and France at the Western end of the Pyrenees mountains. Basque descendants and communities can be found all over California and Nevada. (More on the history of the Basque people in the Wikipedia.)

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You may be accustomed to Irish lamb stew, but lamb stews are also typical of Basque cuisine, as are dishes that include both tomatoes and sweet red peppers.

Basque Lamb Stew in Bowl

My father first found the recipe from which we adapted this basque lamb stew in an old issue of Saveur Magazine. He has at least 20 years of back issues of Gourmet, Saveur, and other cooking magazines that he keeps around just waiting for a spare moment to review.

We’ve made this lamb stew several times and just love it!

It seems a little odd in that the lamb is first marinated in herbs and white wine, and then braised in stock and red wine. Mixing wines in cooking is so rarely done, but apparently it does happen on occasion in Spanish cooking (we’ve found references in Spanish cookbooks).

Updated, from the recipe archive. First posted in 2005. Enjoy!

Basque Lamb Stew Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 4 hours
  • Marinating time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Feel free to substitute some or all of the paprika with smoked paprika.


  • 3 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, about 1 tablespoon chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 10-ounce can roasted red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1 large ripe tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry, full-bodied red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Freshly ground black pepper


1 Marinate lamb with garlic, rosemary, white wine: Combine the lamb, half of the garlic cloves, rosemary, and white wine in a medium bowl. Let marinate for 2 to 3 hours.

Drain the meat, discard the marinade, and pat dry with paper towels. Mince the remaining garlic cloves and set aside.

2 Brown the lamb: Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan with lid, over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the meat on all sides, about 10 minutes per batch. Salt the meat as it browns.

3 Sauté onions and garlic: Remove the meat from the pan and add the chopped onion to the pan. Cook, scraping browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.

4 Return meat to pan, add paprika, roasted peppers, tomatoes, parsley, bay leaf, red wine, bring to simmer: Return the meat to the pan with the onions and garlic. Stir in paprika, roasted peppers, tomatoes, parsley, bay leaf, and red wine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, allowing the liquids to reduce a bit.

5 Add chicken stock, simmer: Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until meat is very tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Add freshly ground black pepper and more salt to taste.

Serve with rustic bread. If you want, try garnishing with fresh mint leaves (though I have no idea how "Basque" that is, it just tastes good.)

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Basque Chicken - from Not Quite Nigella

Chilindron, Spanish Venison Stew with Paprika - from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

Completed Lamb Stew Recipe in Bowl with Spoon

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

90 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Sanjay Bhatia

    Well tried it today, turned out super


  2. Gary C.

    I loved this recipe. I embellished it a little with Mama Lil’s Peppers and Chantrelle mushrooms and tomato paste. Bon Apetite!


  3. Keith Fullerton

    This is a wonderful recipe made just as described. Rich and wonderful lamb taste. As a person who grew up on a sheep ranch, I have two requests for you all. One, try to buy American lamb. Two, my grandmother, who cooked lamb a couple of times a week, told me to never use mint. I know it is traditional but I also think that it covers the lovely taste of lamb. Any other herb is much more compatible with this recipe.


  4. Georgianne

    I have this on my stove right now. It’s not completely done, but I dipped some ciabatta bread in the sauce to determine how much salt might need to be added later. This is incredibly flavorful. Absolutely delicious! I did a few different things. While I was sauteing the onions and garlic, I added a tablespoon of tomato paste. I just added some carrots for the last 30 minutes or so of cooking. I think the tomato paste has given the sauce a more intense flavor. I don’t think the carrots will take away from the taste. Again, this is absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to sit down at the table with another slice of bread! Thank you.


  5. Bev

    Wonderful! My picky husband said not to lose this recipe


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