Lamb Bone Stew

Every so often I’ll roast a leg of lamb. Actually, a 1/2 leg as it has become trendy lately to serve Lamb Shanks in some restaurants so they cut that bit off. Then they have started taking some of the other shoulder end for “boneless roasts”. Leaving a chunk with the one big leg bone in it. This is sized for that 4 to 5 lb roast. Size up for larger ones.

I put the leg in a roasting pan, put on a modest layer of “Greek Seasoning” (not sure what’s in it, came in a Christmas present set of jars with magnetic lids that stick to the fridge… I think it’s your basic Italian + Anise or something with a bit of anise flavor.)

That gets 15 minutes at 450 F then 20 minutes / pound at 350 F (those afflicted with Metric Only will need to convert that… basically HIGH then MEDIUM heat).

After that, we have roast lamb dinner. Then many days of lamb sandwiches, lamb snacks, and a few more lamb dinners (put some of the pan drippings in a skillet and warm the lamb slices in that ‘au juice’ to avoid drying when heating. Pour the au juice back into the roasting pan when done).

Eventually, we are left with the bone and a few bits of meat / cartilage on it, and some other trimmings bits, in the pan of drippings with a layer of lamb fat. As I don’t toss anything out that can be used to good effect, I turn this into Lamb Bone Stew.

It is best if their is a cup or so of meat still on the bone, but I’ve made it with near none and it was still pretty good.

1/2 to 2/3 cup Barley (more for stew, less for soup)
1/2 to 2/3 cup Lentils (“)
2 or 3 Carrots
1 cup celery
1 onion
“sprinkle” of dried garlic granules or about a fat clove of garlic crushed
“a few” grinds of pepper
“sprinkle over” with salt to taste in the last step of prep.
IF the flavor is a bit thin, or just because it tastes better, Drop in a Vegetable Bouillon cube or two after the simmer.

I rinse and scrape the carrot with the back of the knife. Held at a 45 degree angle most chefs knifes nicely scrape off the skin without taking off slabs of carrot like a “peeler” does. Trim off the ends, then chop into dice about 1 cm on a side. (For those afflicted with English Only units, that’s about 1/3 – 1/4 inch)

The Celery I just take the bunch, trim about 1/4 inch off the top (so any dead dry bits hit the dumper) and then start chopping from the end in until I have a cup or so. Sometimes more. Yes, “leaves and all”. The leaves are tasty and the small stem bits is just less to chop. Toss that in the pot.

Peel and chop the onion into dice and into the pot.

Add water to cover the bone (about 3 inches in my case for the small bone roast, bigger roaster and bigger bones will need more water, but also more of the vegetable stuff and grains… I’d double all that if using a whole leg of lamb) My pot is about a 25 cm or 10 inches diameter so if using something bigger, adjust accordingly. I’d guess I’ve got about 1/2 gallon of water in it by this point., but it might be a gallon max. Call it 3 liters. Put a couple of grinds of pepper into the pot, and about 1/2 tsp more Greek Seasoning. Sprinkle over with salt. Give a light sprinkle of dry garlic granules or crush a clove of garlic and add it.

Set it on the stove on high until it starts to simmer then turn it down and add the barley and lentils. Stir just enough to assure they aren’t a pile in one spot, and then cover. Let it simmer about an hour or two.

Now its time to adjust the flavor profile. It will want a fair amount of salt, so put in about 1/2 what you think it wants. Taste it. If it is “thin”, you will want to jazz up the pot with some Vegetable Bouillon cubes. (This avoids a conflict of flavors you would get with Beef Bouillon cubes – it works to use Beef, but the flavor becomes indistinct between beef and lamb). At this time you can add any other left over lamb that wasn’t on the bone, should there be any. Then stir a bit, let it simmer another 5 to 10 minutes, and do your final spice adjustments. Salt / Pepper as needed.

That’s pretty much it. If too much water, you get a great soup. If too little, a thick lamb barley stew ;-) Next time I make it I’ll actually measure the water used ;-)

Change Ups

I’ve also sometimes added any leftover vegetables in the fridge. We eat about 1/2 a can of peas or green beans between the two of us, the rest goes into a plastic tub in the fridge. Those are great added to soups and stews. For folks who can eat corn, it can work too. While I’m not fond of it, any leftover tomatoes can go in the pot for a more West Coast Trendy style. Avoid things from the cabbage / kale / broccoli family. Long cooking makes them a bit stinky and soups / stews are long slow cook with many reheats.

It is also possible, though not as rich, to make this with rice, oats (whole; not rolled), or other grains instead of Barley. I like the barley best though. Rice is bland, oats chewy if whole and mushy if rolled. “Someday” I’m going to try it with sorghum. Dried peas can be used instead of the lentils but tend to dissolve into the soup, while lots of other beans can be used if you cook them in a change of water or two first (to rinse out the pentose sugar that causes gas) then add them. I have used a cup of “15 bean soup mix” and it is interesting too.

And if you wish to add “soup noodles” like stars or letters, do that in the last 10 minutes. They just keep absorbing water until the get really big and dissolve otherwise.

In Conclusion

When done with the first cook, let it cool and just set the whole pan in the fridge. After that, just microwave a bowl of it for about 2 minutes and add some crackers or a slice of buttered bread for a pretty good meal.

I do NOT skim the fat off the pan drippings. You can if you are paranoid about fats, but it really does enhance the flavor and energy / bowl a lot. Atherosclerosis and heart disease / cholesterol issues have more to do with not getting your 2 grams of Vit. C per day than fat intake, from what I’ve read / watched / found in investigating. Low fat diets just leave you with cravings while leaving the fat in has you “not hungry” for many hours. One bowl of this for dinner and I’m good until breakfast the next day.

Along the way, reheating the leftovers, you can scrape the final bits of meat off of the bone. IF you didn’t have any extra bits to add, scrape earlier. Even with no meat added and nearly none on the bone, it makes a nice stew-soup.

IF really wanting to get all you can from it, crack the bones with a mallet or the back of a heavy cleaver prior to putting the stew together. More marrow comes out that way.

It is possible to use the bone (once the stew is all gone) as an addition to a “bone broth” pot, but I’m not usually that motivated nor short of bones…

By doing this, we’ll get about 2 weeks worth of various meals off one 4 to 5 lb 1/2 leg of lamb. If you are the sort that gets tired of that for “every other meal”, you can freeze things at any of the steps with only small loss of flavor. Bone & Pan drippings to the freezer and make stew weeks later (though hard to get all the goodies out of the pan that way). Or make the stew and put it up in freezer tubs of one or two servings each. Similarly a chunk of roast lamb can be frozen for use later. When on my own, I’ve made it in a smaller size using a lamb chop with lots of bones in it. (The cheap chops are the ones with more bones).

We like lamb enough that we have generally not needed to resort to freezing bits ;-) but I have done it from time to time depending on the demands of my schedule.

This makes a very hearty and very comforting lunch on cold wet or snowy days. Two slices of buttered bread with some sliced, salted and peppered lamb between them makes a great simple sandwich. IF you cut off a large chunk of the meat and put it in the fridge in a tub, then you can make the stew while you still have sandwich cuts. One of those simple sandwiches and a bowl of this stew is just heaven on a cold day, but very filling.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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17 Responses to Lamb Bone Stew

  1. Kneel says:

    It may be too late, however don’t forget to make fritters!

  2. Bill in Oz says:

    Nice E M !
    greek stye leg of lamb roast is my favorite roast – when I can afford ! Lamb is hugely expensive here in Oz nowadays…But always cooked with garlic & olive oil. And spuds on the side in the roasting dish Herbs added later is good. Food for a feast !

    However I had not heard before of making leg of lamb stew. Now I know I will do when Winter sets in here,,,

    It’s been a long warm dry Summer here. The garden needs a deep watering every week. :-(

  3. E.M.Smith says:


    Unfortunately, I’ve never learned to make fritters. I have thought of putting dumplings on top of the stew though ;-) Maybe I ought to learn how to make fritters… I can’t have corn, but maybe millet or sorghum fritters?

    Looks like a popular thing in India:

    I really need to do more with breads and fritters and stuff….

    @Bill In Oz:

    Well, when you use the bone and pot drippings to make some stew, it turns that lamb into about 1/2 the cost per meal total. Just sayin’… I think we got somewhere around 4 dinners (for 2) and a similar number of lunch sandwiches… call it 16 total meals out of a $25 roast. (The sandwiches are way under 1/4 lb lamb each) About $1.50 / meal. Now make Lamb Bone Stew, and you get another 10 or so meals. (really I think it was more, but a couple of times I couldn’t help myself and had 2 bowls..;-) Now you are at about $1 / meal. That makes it cheaper than “Salisbury steak” (Hamburger steak…)… Chicken is running over $1 / pound here and I’ll eat a pound of it at a sitting…

    So don’t put it off. Do it to “save some money” ;-)

    (We’ll ignore the fact I make a similar Chicken Stew out of the last of the roast chicken ;-)

  4. gallopingcamel says:

    Finally something I can relate to. My favorite “Sunday Roast” was lamb and mint sauce. My mother used to roast potatoes in the ample fat that accumulated in the roasting pan. I have tried to emulate this but can not even get close what she did apparently effortlessly.

    OK so I am pretty incompetent when it comes to roasting a leg of lamb but there is something even better. For more than a century the “Savoy Grill” in London (UK) has been recognized by gourmets. For people who were less fancy there was “Simpsons in the Strand” with a simple menu. It has become a little more fancy that what I remember:

    Go for the “Carving Trolley” that only has two items namely roast beef and roast lamb. This is something you will never forget.

    The “Roast Lamb” is not really lamb at all. The “Lamb” is actually 18 months old so it is technically “Mutton”. Nevertheless this will be the best “Lamb” you will ever eat. Don’t forget to put the mint source on your veggies!

  5. H.R. says:

    Wonderful menu, gallopingcamel, but the prices! Not the dinners so much – actually seemed reasonable enough – but the soups, starters and sides, oh my!

    The prices on the oysters were a bit of a shocker. They look to be 3-4 times higher than what I pay. Since you’ve probably had them on both sides of the pond, any ideas on that?

  6. Bill in Oz says:

    EM When I was young lamb was our staple meat : roast leg, chops, sausages, cutlets etc.. But now it is indeed expensive. Currently about $18- $20 a kilo unboned…Ouch !

    But I agree with you about a leg of lamb going towards a lot of meals..

    Great tucker !

  7. Chris Morris says:

    In NZ, we call the sheep between about 1 year and two years old, hogget. And my favourite is hogget chops, with a crumbed coating and plenty of thick mint sauce. Add the roast veges. That is a meal I could eat every night.

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve had mutton here (years ago, farm country, you eat lots of stuff the national market doesn’t take). I like the stonger flavor more than lamb… Had a leg of goat once; similar stonger flavor to mutton… I’d love to find a source for more…

    The local “ethnic” market can be a good source for lower priced lamb (they don’t price as a specialty meat). Saw goat at an Indian / Caribbean market in Orlando Fl. but didn’t buy any and then the contract was over and I was packing for California…so too late.

    @Bill in Oz:

    Strange… We pay $5 to $6 a pound (so about $10 to $12 a kilo) here … for Australian lamb . Wonder why your lamb is cheaper here for us than there for you…

  9. Chris Morris says:

    There are a lot of feral and semi-feral goats in the central North Island. Many farmers and hunters supplement their income selling these to the abattoirs. They get about $100 for a good nanny. No-one buys the bucks. With the recent influx of a lot of Indians, both from Fiji and India, the local supermarket sells goat cuts in the meat aisles every Friday. It rapidly sells out. It has a good flavor that slow cooking really brings out.
    Local farmers have taken to growing chicory, thyme and mints in some of their paddocks. These are used to finish animals before they go off to the works. Then the meat comes pre-seasoned

  10. Graeme No.3 says:

    Garlic, onions, rosemary sprigs, oregano (greek dried oregano is actually a mix of various herbs), red wine (one glass for the cook, two for the pot), chopped tomatoes (and a bit of concentrated tomato paste depending on those tomatoes). A bay leaf, a stick of cinnamon or ground Allspice (towards the end of cooking) if you are feeling fancy. (personally I throw in Allspice berries at the start and forget about the bay or cinnamon). And the lamb. Add a stock cube if you must.
    Cook slowly.
    A bit of red wine vinegar and a teaspoon of honey if you are “egging the pudding”.

  11. H.R. says:

    @E.M. re a source for goat: Raise your own. Put one in the back yard.

    When the authorities inevitably come around, tell them it’s your emotional support goat. They’ll back off. That’s a can of PC worms they won’t want to open.

    Name any goat you get ‘Stew.’ “Officer, this is my emotional support goat, Stew.” “Oh, well then. Sorry to bother you, Mr. Smith. Carry on.”

    Hmmm… come to think of it, your delicate emotional state might also require a few emotional support chickens, E.M.

  12. Simon Derricutt says:

    Funny thing, but when I first read this I’m sure it said “Geek seasoning”, which seems rather apt.

    In the UK at least, it’s a lamb up to 2 years old and then it’s mutton. Mutton tends to be somewhat more fatty, and stronger-flavoured. OK for Shepherd’s Pie, though.

  13. E.M.Smith says:


    The problem is far worse than the police… I’ve suggested mini Nigerian goats and the Mrs. “suggests” I can live in a tent with them out in the yard… I managed to “sell” the idea of bunnies instead… but it is now a “running joke” that I’ll do a goat bleet whenever I see one (on TV or on a country drive) and SWMBO will sternly reply “No Goats”.

    To have a goat here will require a remote farm…

  14. ossqss says:

    @HR, I asked the wife once while we were watching a story on people taking emotional support animals on a plane, if I would be permitted to get an emotional support girlfriend. After I got out of the ER, I decided it would not be a good idea ;-)

  15. gallopingcamel says:

    I never developed a taste for oysters but if I had those prices would curb my enthusiasm!
    The main reasons for my reluctance to visit my relatives in England are:
    1. Political correctness on steroids.
    2. The weather.
    3. The prices.

  16. gallopingcamel says:

    If I had known of your fondness for goat I would have taken you to a Jamaican restaurant close to the UCF campus. They used to serve “Curried Goat”…..amazing!

    Unfortunately the restaurant is no more. It was razed to construct “Dorms” for UCF.

  17. E.M.Smith says:


    I’d not be surprised if they just re-candled somewhere nearby…

    Next time I’m in the area I’ll check out the Jamaican options… I spent 2 week in Jamaica about 45 years ago and fell in love with the place. “Someday” I want to go back. I remember some “dumb tour” we took on a bus one day – had a nice lunch of real Jamaican food at a random restaurant that was just a wonderful experience, then drove through a ‘typical neighborhood’ where several modest homes had a small goat on a rope in the front yard… I found myself wanting a shack in Jamaica with a goat on a rope ;-)

    I still, from time to time, have that memory / vision haunt me… Woulda coulda shouda…

    I hope it hasn’t changed too much in the time since.

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