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December 11, 2018

Cider-Braised American Lamb Shoulder with Cardamom, Butternut Squash and Greens


Recipe Provided By
American Lamb Board
Prep Time

20 min 

Cook Time

6 - 8 Hrs

Total Time

-- min



Cider-Braised American Lamb Shoulder with Cardamom, Butternut Squash and Greens


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds American Lamb stew meat, or lamb shoulder cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes, patted dry
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and leaves separated, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 butternut squash (2 pounds), peeled, seeded, cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf

To Garnish

  • Greek yogurt
  • Chopped fresh cilantro


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When you begin to see wisps of smoke, add the American Lamb to the pan in a single layer; season with 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until lamb is deeply browned on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the meat to a 5 to 6-1/2-quart slow cooker using a slotted spoon, reserving the fat in the pan. 

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 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 the water to the sauté pan and scrape the bottom to release the flavorful stuck-on bits; pour into the slow cooker. 

Add squash to the slow cooker; pour in the apple cider. Submerge the cloves, cinnamon stick and bay leaf in the liquid; season with remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Set the slow cooker to the low setting; cook until the meat is tender and shreds easily with a fork and the vegetables are very tender, 6 to 8 hours. 

Discard the bay leaf. Gently stir in chard leaves; continue cooking until wilted and just tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Serve the stew in warm shallow bowls topped with a dollop of yogurt and sprinkled with cilantro.

USDA recommends the following time and temperature parameters

Ground Lamb

Internal temperature of 160°F

All Other Cuts

Internal temperature of 145°F, with a 3 minute rest

thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.
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