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
About Provençal Cooking
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 Defines “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.
Making the Lamb Stew – Instant Pot, Pressure Cooker, Stove Top?
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.
Cubed lamb gets pressurized for 30 minutes prior to adding the vegetables. The stew needs only 10 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 1/4 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…
What to Serve with Your Tender Lamb Stew:
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!
Tips and FAQ for Provençal Lamb Stew
- Hate lamb but love the 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.
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. 😀
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- a few grinds of pepper
- 1 pound lamb, cubed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced (about 2-3 cloves)
- 1 cup dry red wine, (see notes)
- 4 cups beef broth/stock
- 1 inches sprig fresh rosemary, 6 to 8 inches long
- 2 leaves bay, fresh if possible
- 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
- 1 cup red pearl onions, optional (see notes)
- 2 cups mushrooms, quartered (see notes)
- 4 cups root vegetables, cubed (see notes)
- several grinds sea salt and pepper to taste
- flat leaf parsley to garnish
- Add the flour, salt, and pepper to a quart zip bag. Add the cubed lamb, and zip the top. Shake until pieces are coated.
- Add olive oil to pressure cooker on medium high heat (manual or sauté mode). Add lamb cubes (shake off excess flour), shallot, and garlic. Stir until lamb cubes are browning nicely.
- Pour red wine and broth/stock into the IP/pressure cooker. Add the bay leaves, rosemary, and Herbes de Provence. Stir to combine.
- Set the Instant Pot to 30 minutes high pressure.
- While lamb cooks, prep your vegetables. If using fresh pearl onions, blanch quickly, snip the root end, and pop the onion out of its skin.
- Do a quick pressure release, open, then add vegetables. Seal and lock the cooker, and return to high pressure for 8 minutes.
- Do a quick pressure release. When ready to serve, open the lid, and check seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed.
- Ladle stew into bowls, and garnish with chopped flat leaf parsley. Serve with crusty bread. Enjoy!
A good rule of thumb is to not cook with expensive wine or wine you wouldn't want to drink!
Fresh pearl onions are worth a bit of extra effort - if you can find them. Blanch them, snip the root end, then pop them out of their skins from the stem end. You can substitute frozen pearl onions, or substitute with an additional cup of vegetables.
I like cremini mushrooms, but button mushrooms are fine as well.
I've used different combinations of root vegetables for this stew. New potatoes in purple, red, and white are lovely. Carrots, sweet potatoes, golden beets, butternut squash, parsnips, turnips, are all great options. Try to cut them in similar sized pieces for most even cooking! I cut large chunks. Size will affect how soft or firm they are.
If time is an issue, I sometimes use a stove top pressure-cooker on an induction cook top (it comes to pressure more quickly). I have to be way more careful than I did when I had the instant heat control of my gas range. I do pressurize the cooker on high, but the minute it is pressurized, I turn it from "9" to "3". This seems to work pretty well.
Macronutrients (approximation only from MyFitnessPal): 31 g protein; 42 g carbohydrates; 36 g fat
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 552 Total Fat: 36g Carbohydrates: 42g Protein: 31g