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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.

Source: American Lamb Board