Cider-Braised Lamb Shoulder with Cardamom, Butternut Squash & Greens

Prep Time:
30 mins.
Cook Time:
6-8 hrs.


2 pounds American Lamb stew meat or shoulder cut into 1½” cubes, patted dry

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and leaves separated, coarsely chopped

1 large yellow onion, cut into 1” dice

4 garlic cloves, smashed

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 cup water

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1½” cubes

2 cups apple cider

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

2 cloves

Greek yogurt, to garnish

Chopped fresh cilantro, to garnish


  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When you begin to see wisps of smoke, add the lamb to the pan in a single layer; season with 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook until lamb is deeply browned on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer meat to a 5 to 6 1/2 quart slow cooker using a slotted spoon, reserving the fat in the pan.
  2. Reduce heat to medium; add chard stems (reserving the leaves to add later), onion and garlic to the pan. Add a little more oil if necessary. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender and lightly charred, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in cardamom and pepper; cook until distributed evenly and aromatic, about 1 minute. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the slow cooker. Add water to the sauté pan, scraping the bottom to release the flavorful pieces; pour it into the slow cooker.
  3. Add squash to the slow cooker; pour in cider. Submerge cinnamon stick, bay leaf and cloves in the liquid; season with remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook on low setting until the meat is tender and shreds easily with a fork, and vegetables are very tender, 6 to 8 hours.
  4. Discard bay leaf. Gently stir in chard leaves; continue cooking until wilted and just tender, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Serve the stew in warm shallow bowls topped with a dollop of yogurt and sprinkled with cilantro.


Photo & Recipe: American Lamb Board

Categories: Lamb, Lamb Cubes