Jacques’ Lamb Stew

French cuisine is not a delight reserved only for restaurants adorned with Michelin stars. Oh non! It is an art that may be practiced even in the most humble farmhouse setting. And I, Pierre LeChat, gourmand and expert on all that is food, will demonstrate this in a most conclusive way. In this post I will relate to you how the soon-to-be-world-famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen (SFH-TK) recently tested, mastered, and perfected Jacques Pépin’s Lamb Stew.

If, perhaps, you are anxious to view the recipe now and wish to return later to read my most interesting test report, just click Jump to Recipe below.

Test Results & Commentary

In this test, the SFH-TK staff attempted to replicate the lamb stew recipe presented in Episode 130 of Jacques Pépin Cooking At Home. I must say the the staff did a splendid job and they were most successful. Perhaps that is because they closely adhered to my SFH-TK Philosophy. (Click here to see a summary of my philosophy.)

My first impression of Pépin’s lamb stew recipe is, it is universal in its concept and fits perfectly in a Blue Ridge Mountain farmhouse kitchen. This stew is a hearty main course, fit for a chilly Winter night. We performed our test on February 5th, the night of the Full Snow Moon. How good it was that this was the dish we chose to test. – By the way, it was just as good and warming when we had it for leftovers two nights later.

1. Level of the challenge:

This is a simple recipe. Specialized skills are not required. Even my somewhat clumsy friend, Ol’ Fuzz Face, can handle most of the prep.

2. Selection of good-quality ingredients:

Perhaps the real challenge in this lamb stew recipe is having a suitable cut of lamb on hand. In this case, the SFH-TK had to substitute a lamb rib roast for a lamb breast. This is a bit more expensive, but it certainly did not detract from the results. During this test we did our best to “shop our pantry” and “shop our community”. (I will prepare a post on how we do this in the near future.) We found that we had all the requisite ingredients on hand except for one turnip. Because turnip adds to the rustic nature of this dish, we managed to obtain one without too much extra effort. I must admit that our potatoes were a bit soft, but the final taste test found them to be acceptable.

3. Use of cooking techniques:

The SFH-TK staff is working to improve our equipment. We have upgraded the purity of water for cooking. We finally have a full set of quality knives. They retain a truly wonderfully sharp cutting edge. This Winter, staff members have attended almost daily classes intended to round out their already formidable array of skills. So, we felt very comfortable with this recipe because it was simple and straightforward.

4. Development of superior taste and flavor:

Here is the key to the success of this lamb stew recipe. Although Jacques didn’t say so specifically, he did give a hint as to why this recipe works so well. He said to use water as the only liquid. Do not use a broth or stock. That is because it is the lamb that gives this stew its amazing taste and flavor. And that was why we went easy on the seasoning. (However, the garlic has something of its own to say, and it is quite important.)

5. Presentation

This dish is most at home in a small farmhouse dining room. The meal itself and the warmth of a wood stove will remove the evening chill. An oil lamp to light the table would seem a must. Feel free to pair this meal with a local Cabernet Franc. It’s a perfect fit.

So, without further ado, here are pictures of the process keyed to the primary instructions listed in Jacques’ lamb stew recipe. Enjoy!

Assemble the Ingredients

Cut the Meat

Brown the Meat

Stir in Water, Herbs & Remaining Ingredients

Jacques’ Lamb Stew

If you're looking for a winter recipe to take the chill off, nothing beats a nice hearty stew. Jacques Pepin's stew recipe uses lamb breast, chopped vegetables, and fresh herbs. Delicious and inexpensive!
Course Main Course
Cuisine French


  • Stainless steel pot Jacques uses a Dutch oven
  • Sharp knife Suitable for cutting through gristle


  • Lamb breast
  • one onion chopped coarsely,
  • 4 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups water
  • fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 carrots
  • one turnip
  • two peeled potatoes
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas.


  • Cut the lamb breast into strips and remove the fat.
  • Brown in a large pot on high heat for 20 to 30 minutes total. When it browns a bit, reduce heat and partially cover for remaining time.
  • Pour out the fat.
  • Stir in one coarsely chopped onion, 4 cloves of crushed garlic, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour.
  • Add 2 cups of water, thyme, and bay leaves, bring to a boil and cook for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Add chopped carrots, turnip, potatoes, salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for 30 minutes.


  1. We substituted lamb rib roast for lamb breast.
  2. The rib roast had very little fat, so we didn’t have to drain the fat.
  3. We used 1 tablespoon of olive oil to brown the lamb.

5 thoughts on “Jacques’ Lamb Stew”

    1. Mr. Monte inspected the ingredients and oversaw the entire process. Most of his time was spent cracking the whip. But he sure love the flavor and aroma of lamb rib bones. – Pierre

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