Yiayia’s Lamb Stew

By: Eleni Saltas

Growing up, a winter snowfall meant braving the weather to make snow angels, build snow forts, and endure intense snowball fights with my brothers. But now, when the temperature drops lower than 40 degrees and the weatherman even mentions an approaching snowstorm, all I want to do is bundle up indoors with blankets and put something warm in my belly. My YIAYIA’S LAMB STEW always does the trick.

My yiayia (grandma) is probably a lot like yours. Yiayia’s love with their whole hearts, constantly nag us to get married, and would never let us leave their house hungry or empty handed. Yiayia Saltas makes me an egg sandwich whenever I visit, sends me home with huge bowls of orzo, brings spanakopita to all of our family parties, and still has time to play bingo twice a week while hitting “like” on all of my Facebook posts. My yiayia seems to be cooking all year round but it’s her winter dishes that warm me the most and stir
my deepest memories. Her
lamb stew, so hearty and healthy is perfect on a cold winter day and ranks as my all-time favorite. Best of all, it uses just three main ingredients—simple as it gets.

Prep Time:


Total Time:

3-4 hours



Good For:



  • 2 pounds of lamb, cut into 1” cubes and trimmed of excess fat
  • 6 large potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2 cups peas (frozen or fresh—thaw the peas, if frozen)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 (10-ounce) cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 (10-ounce) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 (10-ounce) can of beef or vegetable stock (just use if the stew needs more liquid)
  • 1⁄2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1⁄2 cup ketchup (or spicy tomato juice) 2 bay leaves
  • 1⁄2-1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add lamb and season with salt, pepper and oregano. Brown the meat on all sides. 
Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions have softened. Then, add bay leaves, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, wine, and ketchup.

Step 2

Cook over low to medium heat until meat is done/tender. Stir occasionally throughout. This may take 2-3 hours of simmering.

Step 3

When the meat is almost fork tender, peel and cut the potatoes into quarters so they are close to the same thickness as the meat. Heat olive oil in a frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Brown the potatoes. 

Add browned potatoes to the pot and cover. Stir occasionally, making sure to stir from the bottom. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Step 4

Add peas to the pot and again season to taste with salt, pepper, and oregano. If the stew needs more liquid, use beef or vegetable stock and water. You want to make sure all of your meat and vegetables are covered with liquid.

Step 5

When the peas have warmed, adjust the taste by adding more seasoning. A splash of wine. A blob of ketchup. A sprinkle of oregano. Remove the bay leaves and serve.