Saffron Lamb or Beef Stew With Lemon and Fig

Amazing meal, totally worth the effort

Active time: 1.5 hr • Total time: 4 hr

Posted on Mar 04, 2023 by Jack McCann
Tags: recipes newsletter beef roasts lamb

Don't get scared away by the number of ingredients. It is fairly simple to make, but yeah: It does takes a bit of time.

Totally worth it.


Yogurt Sauce

  • 1.5 - 2 cups whole milk yogurt (try to get 100% grass fed)
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of chopped fresh mint (~1/4 cup)


  • 1/4 teaspoon (large pinch) of saffron threads
  • 2-3 pounds of boneless lamb/lamb roast (or beef cut into about 1-inch cubes **)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of coconut oil or butter
  • 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 small Meyer lemon (or a small standard lemon and a small orange if you can't find a Meyer). BE SURE IT IS ORGANIC because you will use the peel.
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh minced ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (get real cinnamon, not cassia)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle
  • One 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of dried figs with their stems trimmed and cut into eight pieces (order from TC Farm!)
  • 2-3 cups of chicken broth (seriously: make your own)


  • 12-16 ounces of linguine or spaghetti
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Coconut oil

** You can use lamb shoulder roasts, leg of lamb, Beef or lamb stew meat, tri-tip, hanger, flank, skirt steaks) -- Beef chuck roasts are usually not a good choice to bone out by hand. You could use them if you pre-shred in a crockpot. We will have beef stew meat available soon.


At least 5 hours ahead of dinner

  1. Mix the mint into the yogurt
  2. Store in the fridge up to a couple of days in advance

A few hours ahead

  1. Place saffron in a small cup or bowl with 1/2 cup of warm water to infuse
  2. Heat oil/butter in a large stockpot (medium-high heat)
  3. Add meat to brown, season with salt and pepper. You may need to do this in batches to get a nice brown on all sides.
  4. Place meat in a bowl
  5. If needed, remove extra fat from the pan (or add a bit more oil/butter)
  6. Lower heat a bit and add onions. Caramelize them until most are golden brown (15-20 min?)
  7. Trim the ends of the lemon and then quarter lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise so there is a small amount of peel on each piece.
  8. Add saffron mixture to the pan and scrape up any browned bits
  9. Add lemon, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, chipotle, tomatoes with juice, figs, meat and broth.
  10. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and continue to simmer until meat is tender, or up to 5 hours. Should be ready in 1.5-2 hours in most cases.

45 min ahead

  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of water until it is just past al dente (tender, but still firm to bite).
  2. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl, stir in coconut or olive oil to coat
  3. Add parsley and season with salt and pepper
  4. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over med-high heat
  5. Add pasta to skillet, spread evenly and press to flatten down and compress with a spatula.
  6. Cook until golden brown, resist the temptation to stir until it is crispy. If your pan is hot, about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Flip over, add more oil and repeat for the other side (It sometimes helps to transfer the noodle cake to an oiled plate and then flip back into the pan)
  8. Transfer to cutting surface and cut into wedges


  1. Place noodle cake on plate, top with lamb stew and then the mint yogurt sauce.
  2. Yum.


We also make this and serve over rice. You could fry the rice as described for the noodle cake, it just won't be as good.

Feel free to throw in other ingredients. I added some foraged spruce tips!

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