Under the Olive Trees

Spicy Lamb Stew with Olives and Tomatoes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 pounds lamb shanks, or lamb neck, cut into 2” pieces
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chili, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seed
  • 14oz tin chopped tomatoes
  • 14 oz tin tomato puree
  • 2 x strips lemon peel
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup pitted green olives
  • 2 cups fresh cocktail tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
  • crusty bread, to serve

I used my slow cooker for this recipe and added all the ingredients together and let it simmer for 5 hours. Meat was falling-off-the- bone delicious. Topped with the fresh tomato and olive salad and served with fresh baked bread.


  1. Preheat oven to 300F
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large casserole. Add the lamb and cook for 5-10 mins until browned all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, heat the remaining oil, add the onion and cook for 5 mins until softened. Stir in the garlic, chilis and spices cook for another two minutes.
  4. Return the lamb to the casserole, along with the tinned tomatoes, lemon peel and the beef stock. Add salt and ground pepper to taste.
  5. Put lid on casserole and place it in preheated oven and let it simmer gently for 2-3 hours, adding a splash more water if needed.
  6. Before serving, mix fresh cocktail tomatoes, halved green olives and chopped coriander.
  7. Spoon tomato and olive salad over cooked meat and and enjoy with some crusty bread.

If the olive trees knew the hands that planted them, their oil will become tears.

M Darwish

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