Lamb, Fig & Olive Stew for Two

November/December 2008, EatingWell Serves Two

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Not your Irish grandmother's stew, this version was inspired by flavors from the south of France: figs, green olives and herbes de Provence. To shorten the cooking time, we use ground lamb.

Lamb, Fig & Olive Stew for Two

Makes: 2 servings, 1 1/2 cups each

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 8 ounces lean ground lamb, preferably leg (see Tips)
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic, divided
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence, (see Tips)
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried figs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped, pitted green olives, (see Tips)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest


  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add lamb and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a sieve set over a bowl to drain; discard the fat.
  2. Wipe out the pan; add oil and heat over medium-high. Add 2 tablespoons garlic and herbes de Provence and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until slightly reduced, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir together broth and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to the pan, increase heat to high, and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes, figs, olives and pepper and return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have broken down, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved lamb and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  4. Combine the remaining 1 teaspoon garlic, parsley and lemon zest in a small bowl. Serve the stew topped with the parsley mixture.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • Tip: It's not always easy to find lean lamb, but it's easy to grind your own in a food processor. Choose a lean cut, such as leg or loin, trim any excess fat and cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Pulse in a food processor until uniformly ground, being careful not to overprocess. Or ask your butcher to grind a lean cut for you.
  • Ingredient Note: To make your own herbes de Provence, mix equal proportions dried thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram and savory in a small jar. If desired, add a pinch of dried lavender and crushed aniseed.
  • Tip: Small amounts of olives can be purchased from bulk bins and salad bars.


Per serving: 313 calories; 10 g fat (2 g sat, 5 g mono); 73 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrates; 28 g protein; 3 g fiber; 725 mg sodium; 701 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (30% daily value), Zinc (29% dv), Potassium (19% dv), Iron & Vitamin A (15% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 1 1/2

Exchanges: 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, 4 medium-fat meat, 1 fat

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