Basque Lamb Soup

Isn’t it a beautiful day in Portland, Maine? Wow, full-on autumnal spectacular. What’s the only thing to make a sunny day brighter? Lamb stew, of course. I did my best to be faithful to this recipe, but a few modifiations were made. It went something like this when I did it:


  • 2.75 pounds of lamb stew meat
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 3 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3/4 of a can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 roasted red peppers, sliced thinly
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 a cup of red, red wine
  • 1/2 a cup of chicken broth
  • 6 sprigs of parsley
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • a twist of cinammon
  • a little bit of grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper


This morning I filled a baking dish with the lamb (already butcher-cut into 2 inch hunks) wine, rosemary, half the garlic, salt, pepper to marinate. Two hours later I began to prepare the other ingredients, chopping, dicing, slicing, opening, measuring and defrosting frozen, homemade stock. The lamb needed browning, so I pat dry each piece and browned in batches in olive oil in the big heavy-bottomed pot (which makes the rocking world go ’round) I planned to stew in. When the last lamb was sizzling done, I added the onion and garlic and used a wooden spoon to dislodge all the gorgeous bits. Then, I added everything but the stock, turned up the heat, let it boil then down to a simmer for fifteen minutes. Stock, cover, turn down the heat way down low and let it go for two hours. I just went into the kitchen to stir the pot and peak and taste what I found was miraculous: fragrant, buttery, fabulous. Make it yourself and Basque in its glory. Sorry. No, I’m not sorry.

The only thing I am unhappy with is the the consistency. It was supposed to be a stew and ended up much thinner, hence basque lamb soup. Perhaps because I used canned tomatoes instead of plain, ripe fruit? But this has happened to me before, numerous times. For whatever reason, I don’t know how to thicken properly. Rest assured, I will keep trying. And seriously, it’s totally delicious. Lamb rules.

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road. She creates content on the internet, on subjects ranging from summer camps to semi-precious stones to the folklore of food. With Malcolm, Jillian was one of the original "Insiders," for the Visit Maine tourism campaign. She loves telling the stories of her adopted state, finding out-of-the-way places, and people making interesting things. Watching her daughters play in the wild woods and fields of Cushing makes her very happy.


    1. Thanks, Zac. We hunkered down in a big bowl of this last night, and decided that there are few things that aren’t improved (in this case, vegetable-beef soup) that aren’t improved by subbing in lamb for beef. It was fantastic; I hope you’ll give it a try. Thanks for reading!

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