Mexican lamb stew or lamb in a yellow mole sauce

This was my first time making a stew, ever! Ok, so the actual dish isn’t called a stew, but once I had finished making it that’s exactly what it looked like to me. And I have to say, this is one of the greatest ways to eat as many different vegetables as you can in one meal.

The recipe I’m sharing with you is adapted from the lamb in modern yellow mole recipe in my new favorite cookbook, Truly Mexican.

Moles are one of the main sauces of Mexican cooking and can range in their levels of difficulties as well as their consistency. They are made from a mixture of various ingredients that can include any of the following: chiles, spices/ herbs, tomatoes or tomatillos, and sometimes seeds (if they are mostly seed-base, they’re called pepianes).

Lamb loin chop stew
Lamb loin chop stew

Now, you could choose to serve this with something else, but it doesn’t really need anything else. This stew is a full meal in itself and leaves you satisfied and feeling healthy. Since the bones are left on the lamb, you’re getting all of the nutrients the bones have to offer as well. You could also make this stew with beef shank or oxtail instead of lamb. You will  have plenty leftover (unless you have a large family to feed), but I promise you there are plenty of other recipes this can be used for, stay tuned.

The lamb
3 lamb loin chops (with bone)
6 cups water (enough to cover lamb)
1 cup thinly sliced white onion (but I think red would work nicely too)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 large sprig fresh mint
2 tsp kosher salt
ground white pepper

Season lamb with salt and pepper. Place in a 5 – 6 quart heavy pot on high heat. Saute each side for about 30 seconds, then cover with water, add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer, skimming the surface as necessary. Reduce the heat to low, cover pot and simmer until the lamb is tender, about 1 hour.

The yellow mole
1 oz guajillo chiles (3-4), wiped clean, stemmed, seeded, slit open, and deveined
4 dried árbol chiles, wiped clean and stemmed
1/2 lb tomatillos (5 or 6), husked, rinsed, roughly chopped
1 cup packed chopped cilantro
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 – 2 tsp ground cumin
12 small whole peppercorns
1 tsp kosher salt

Soaked guajillo chiles
Soaked guajillo chiles

Cover the guajillos in cold water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain and discard water.

Meanwhile, toast the árbol chiles in a skillet over low heat until they are slightly blackened (about 10 minutes). Toss both chiles with the rest of the ingredients in a blender (or food processor) and blend until thoroughly mixed. Add about 2 cups of the lamb broth and blend until smooth (about 3 minutes). Take care when blending hot ingredients and cover the top of your blender with a kitchen towel, holding the top firmly in place.

1/2 lb carrots (2-3 medium), cut diagonally into 1.2-inch slices
1/2 lb of potatoes (I did a mix of red, yellow and russet), quartered
1 large green bell pepper
1 medium zucchini
3 – 4 medium white mushrooms

Cooking lamb stew
You can’t tell, but there’s lamb and a whole bunch of veggies in there!

Putting it all together
Pour the mole into the lamb pot, stirring to incorporate. Swish a little liquid in the blender and add to the pot. Bring mixture to a simmer. Add the carrots and potatoes, then simmer for 10 minutes. Add bell pepper and zucchini, simmer for about 5 minutes. then add the mushrooms and cover to simmer until all vegetables are tender. Season with salt and serve.


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