Lamb Stew with Beans and Olives



  1. 1 cup dried pinto beans—soaked overnight in water to cover, drained and rinsed
  2. 1 bay leaf
  3. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  4. 2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
  5. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  6. 2 1/2 ounces finely chopped pancetta
  7. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  8. 3 large shallots, minced
  9. 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  10. 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  11. 1/4 cup dry red wine
  12. 4 cups beef stock or 1 can low-sodium beef broth diluted with 3 cups of water
  13. 1 1/2 cups frozen baby lima beans
  14. 2/3 cup Calamata olives, pitted and halved
  15. 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
  1. In a medium saucepan, cover the dried beans with water. Simmer the beans with the bay leaf over low heat until tender, about 45 minutes. Leave the beans in their cooking water.
  2. In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add half of the lamb and season with salt and pepper. Brown the meat over moderately high heat, about 3 minutes per side; transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining oil and lamb.
  3. Add the pancetta and butter to the casserole and cook over low heat until the pancetta is slightly crisp, about 4 minutes. Add the shallots and cook until softened but not browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and then the wine and simmer, stirring, for 3 minutes. Whisk in the stock until smooth and bring to a boil. Return the lamb to the casserole and simmer over low heat, skimming a few times, until the lamb is tender, about 1 hour. Drain the dried beans, add them to the stew and simmer for 15 minutes longer.
  4. Cook the lima beans in a small saucepan of boiling water until tender, about 4 minutes; drain well. Add the lima beans to the stew and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the olives. Spoon the stew into shallow bowls, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.
Make Ahead
The lamb stew can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated for up to 2 days.