The flavors of the southern France region of Provence sing in this hearty lamb stew with root vegetables... Instant Pot Lamb Stew Provençal is fragrant with fresh rosemary and Herbes de Provence, and ready in an hour with your pressure cooker!
When the Good Lord begins to doubt the world, he remembers that he created Provence.~~ Frédéric Mistral
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - What is "Provençal" Cuisine?
I have been drawn to France, and French cooking, since my teenage years when I was fast becoming a gourmet cook. I was not drawn to Paris and haute cuisine (though I hope to visit someday), but rather, the cuisine of the commoner and the country folk... Basque and Provençal cuisine. Instant Pot Lamb Stew Provençal brings the wonderful flavors of Provence to a simple lamb stew, and you can have this fragrant, flavorful stew on the table in an hour with the aid of a pressure-cooker.
What is "Provençal" Cuisine?
If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know of my reliance on flavor profiles in creating recipes. 😉 The cuisine of Provence is defined by its landscape – gnarly olive trees on rocky slopes; rosemary, fennel, thyme and sage growing wild alongside bay laurel and juniper.
Olive oil and olives, anchovies, capers, tomatoes, and garlic – lots and lots of garlic – characterize this wonderful cuisine. Tapenade, ratatouille, Seafood Stew With Saffron-Infused Broth, and Aioli (garlic mayonnaise) are representative of the cuisine, and among my favorites to prepare and enjoy.
Pantry items to keep on hand would include good olive oil, anchovies and/or anchovy paste, capers, good canned tomatoes, whole garlic bulbs, minced garlic, dried thyme leaves, sage, and bay leaves. Keep fresh ingredients on hand when possible – rosemary, parsley, thyme, sage, bay, lemons, fennel bulb, etc.
Herbes de Provence is a mixture of dried herbs typical of the Provence region of southern France, and one always found in my well-stocked pantry. (See My Pantry Checklist).
Commercially prepared Herbes de Provence are widely available; alternatively, you can make your own. I like Emeril Lagasse's recipe for Herbes de Provence. Savory is the only ingredient that I have had trouble finding, and lavender really isn't all that common in Herbes de Provence. You can also order it online.
About the Lamb Stew
This hearty stew combines cubed lamb with root vegetables - sweet potatoes, parsnips, and new potatoes - with herbes de Provence, bay leaves (fresh if possible), and fresh rosemary. Of course a generous cup of red wine flavors the cooking liquid along with good beef stock.
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- all-purpose flour
- boneless lamb - I use either lamb stew meat or boneless leg of lamb. Hate lamb? Substitute beef (or elk if you're lucky enough to have it!).
- olive oil
- shallot - Red onion is a great substitute, or use what you have on hand!
- dry red wine - I recommend using a drinkable dry red wine. It doesn't have to be high quality, but if you wouldn't drink it, don't put it in your lamb stew!
- beef broth/stock
- fresh rosemary - I love using fresh herbs, but if you need to substitute, Martha Stewart recommends a 4:1 ratio. An 8 inch sprig yields about 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, so about ½ teaspoon dried should be adequate. If your dried herbs aren't very fragrant, you'll need more. When I use fresh rosemary, I add the entire sprig, and fish it out (along with bay leaves) before serving.
- bay leaves - Again, fresh is best, but dried bay leaves are fine as well.
- Herbes de Provence - Commercially prepared Herbes de Provence are widely available; alternatively, you can make your own. I like Emeril Lagasse's recipe for Herbes de Provence. Savory is the only ingredient that I have had trouble finding, and lavender really isn't all that common in Herbes de Provence. You can also order it online.
- red pearl onions (optional) - I think these little beauties are worth the extra time, but I don't always add them. See video below.
- mushrooms - Crimini or white mushrooms are fine.
- root vegetables - You'll need about 4 cups of cubed vegetables. Carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, golden beets, butternut squash, parsnips, turnips, are all great options. Choose your favorites!
- flat leaf parsley to garnish
🍲 Instant Pot, Pressure Cooker, Stove Top?
In this recipe, the cubed lamb gets pressurized for 30 minutes prior to adding the vegetables. The stew then needs only 8 minutes +/- with the addition of the vegetables to bring the lamb to falling-apart-tender. Using your Instant Pot/pressure cooker, this delicious lamb stew is ready in about an hour.
While cooking under pressure cuts the time substantially, you can make it on the stove as well. I recommend about 1 ¼ hour before adding the vegetables, followed by enough cooking time to get the vegetables tender (to your preference). Otherwise, the process will be the same. When cooking a stew on the stove, I like my cast iron Dutch oven...
Shake the lamb cubes, flour, salt, and pepper in a zip bag.
Add the flour coated lamb (shake off extra) along with aromatics.
On the sauté setting, brown the lamb and aromatics.
De-glaze with wine, stir, then add broth/stock. Set IP for 30 minutes.
While lamb cooks, prep the vegetables. This is a good time to do the onions.
Do a quick pressure release, add the vegetables. Lock and cook an additional 8 minutes or so.
🎥 Pearl Onions Video
I highly recommend taking the time to include the pearl onions! To that end, I have included this video...
🍷 Pairing Suggestions
Pair this hearty, rich stew with a medium-bodied red wine such as Cotes du Rhone and a crusty loaf of sourdough... It's a hearty, filling meal in a bowl!
- Hate lamb but love the stew flavors? Substitute beef (or elk if you're lucky enough to have it!).
- What veggies should I use? Carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, golden beets, butternut squash, parsnips, turnips, are all great options. Choose your favorites!
- Kick it up a notch with some freshly chopped herbs - parsley, rosemary, thyme, marjoram - would be appropriate!
- Please note: The stew is pressurized for 30 minutes with the lamb before the vegetables are added. The vegetables require only (a maximum) of 10 minutes under pressure. Do a quick pressure release both times, or you may get mushy vegetables!
- My veggies were mushy. Help! This is a bit of a dance as people cut different sizes, have different equipment, and have different preferences. I use large chunks as this is a rustic stew. If I do a quick pressure release, 8 minutes is about right for our family, for fibrous vegetables like potatoes, turnips, and butternut squash. I have to mention, though, my husband gripes if root vegetables are at all firm. I used to suggest 10 minutes, but a reader said her vegetables were overcooked. When I wrote the recipe, I was using a Pressure Cooker XL, and I'm beginning to realize the differences between brands and appliances.
- Unsure on pressure time for your specific vegetables? This Instant Pot Vegetables 101 may be helpful.
- Electric pressure cookers get extremely hot on the bottom. If you have too much thickener or flour, you may get a "burn" warning. All is not lost. You can open the lid, give it a good stir, and return to pressure.
- If you want to thicken your stew, make a slurry of a tablespoon or two flour and ¼ cup broth or water. Add to the pot on sauté, bring to a boil, and simmer until thickened.
If you're still nervous about trying an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, please try to overcome your fear! The modern pressure cooker is not your mother's pressure cooker. 😀