Spicy Lamb Stew with Chickpeas

Lamb Stew with Chickpeas! Spicy and warm. Perfect winter comfort food. Cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and a hit of cayenne.

Sheryl Julian

When you add lots of spices to a dish, sometimes that’s all you can taste. But I've found that lamb is one ingredient that can handle a lot of spice.

This hearty lamb stew is well-seasoned with cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and cayenne. The meat keeps its delicious and distinctive taste, while the seasonings add intrigue to every bite.

Sheryl Julian

I think that leg of lamb, cut into cubes, makes the best stew. You don’t need a butcher to do it: Buy a pre-boned leg of lamb and cut it into cubes yourself.

Start by cutting apart the smaller muscles that make up the leg -- when you remove the leg from its wrapping, you'll see that these muscles are loosely held together with deep cracks running between them. Separate these with your knife, following those cracks. Then you'll have several smaller pieces, which are easy to cut into stew-sized chunks.

Add browned onions and all the seasonings to the pot along with the cubes of lamb, and send it to the oven for a couple of hours.

This stew is finished with chickpeas, golden raisins, and cilantro, which give the dish the flavors of a classic Moroccan lamb tagine. The spices mellow as they cook and the stew just gets better if you eat it a day or two later.

Spicy Lamb Stew with Chickpeas

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings 6 servings

You can buy pre-cut lamb stew meat instead of a leg of lamb. However, this is might be cut from tougher pieces of meat, and may take longer to cook. Keep cooking the stew until the meat is fork tender.

Try swirling in a spoonful sour cream or yogurt for a creamy finish!


  • 2 1/2 pounds (1.1 kilos) boneless lamb leg, strings or netting removed

  • 1 teaspoon (5g) salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 1/2g) ground black pepper

  • 2 sweet or Spanish onions

  • 4 tablespoons (60ml) olive oil

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

  • 2 shallots, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon (5g) ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon (5g) ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon (5g) ground coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 1/2g) ground allspice

  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 1/2g) cayenne pepper (skip this if you don't like spicy foods)

  • 1 can (14 to 16 ounces, 475ml) whole peeled tomatoes crushed in a bowl, or chopped tomatoes

  • 2 cups (475ml) water

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1/2 cup (75g) golden raisins

  • 2 cans (15 ounces, or 420g, each) chickpeas, drained

  • 1/4 cup (5g) fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Heat the oven to 325F
  2. Cut the lamb into chunks:

    Remove the wrapping and and trim any excess fat from the exterior of the lamb. Open up the leg so you see where the bone was removed, then follow the deep cracks running between the muscles to separate the leg into smaller pieces.

    Cut each of these smaller pieces into roughly 3-inch chunks for the stew. You may have some smaller or larger pieces; that’s OK. Sprinkle the meat all over with salt and black pepper.

    Sheryl Julian
    Sheryl Julian
  3. Brown the lamb:

    In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the meat and let it cook for 3 minutes without disturbing. Don't crowd the pan; work in batches if necessary. The meat may stick at first, but will easily lift after a few minutes. Turn and brown the other sides for 3 minutes more. Transfer the meat to a bowl.

  4. While the lamb is browning, prepare the onions:

    Slice off any straggly roots from the onions, leaving the firm root centers intact. Cut the onions in half from tip to root. Peel off the papery outer layers of skin. Cut each half into a few wedges, slicing through the root so that the wedges stay intact.

  5. Cook the onions:

    Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the pan and add the wedges, cut sides down, crowding them as close together as possible. Brown for 2 minutes, then turn and brown the other sides for 2 minutes more. Try to keep the wedges intact as you turn them. Transfer to the bowl with the browned meat.

    Sheryl Julian
  6. Add the seasonings to the pan:

    Stir the garlic, shallots, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and allspice into the pan. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook 1 minute more or until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the water, scraping up any browned bits that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan.

  7. Braise the lamb:

    Return the meat and onions to the pan and stir into the liquid. Add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil.

    Cover the pan and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hour.

  8. Add the raisins and chickpeas to the stew:

    Gently stir so some of the chickpeas are submerged in the liquid.

    Cover and return to the oven. Continue cooking for 30 minutes, or until the lamb is very tender and easily pierced with a fork. If necessary, continue cooking for 30 minutes more until the lamb is tender.

  9. Serve the lamb:

    Taste the cooking juices for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Discard the bay leaf. Sprinkle the dish with cilantro just before serving.

    The stew can also be cooled and refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. Warm over low heat or in a low oven before serving.

Sheryl Julian
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
871 Calories
44g Fat
59g Carbs
62g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 871
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 44g 56%
Saturated Fat 14g 72%
Cholesterol 171mg 57%
Sodium 467mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 59g 22%
Dietary Fiber 14g 50%
Total Sugars 19g
Protein 62g
Vitamin C 14mg 70%
Calcium 145mg 11%
Iron 9mg 52%
Potassium 1374mg 29%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.