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 is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine.


    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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