Citrus Lamb Stew with Saffron and Figs Citrus Lamb Stew with Saffron and Figs

Citrus Lamb Stew with Saffron and Figs

Boneless lamb cubes cooked with a combination of mouth-watering spices, including saffron, onions and dried figs.  The stew is served with soft polenta and thyme dumplings.

prep time
25 mins

cook time
2 hours

6 people


  • 675g lean boneless lamb or mutton leg or shoulder, cut into 5cm cubes
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • 8 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 3 tablespoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large lemon, cut into 8 small wedges and deseeded
  • 1 x 227g can chopped tomatoes
  • 75g ready to eat figs, cut in half
  • 600ml good, hot lamb stock
  • 75g ready to eat figs, cut in half
  • For the polenta and thyme dumplings:

  • 175g fine polenta or cornmeal
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 100g butter, cubed
  • 4 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 3-4 tablespoons cold water


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C, 150°C Fan, Gas Mark 3.
  2. Prepare the saffron; in a small bowl pour the warm water onto the saffron strands and leave to infuse for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place the lamb into a large bowl and season well with the salt and pepper and spice ingredients.
  4. Heat the half the oil in a large pan and brown the lamb cubes in batches then transfer to a large ovenproof casserole dish.
  5. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and cook the onions for 3-4 minutes until soft and add to the large 1.7L casserole dish with the remaining ingredients and the saffron liquid. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook in a preheated oven for 1½-2 hours. Remove the lid and continue to cook uncovered for a further 30 minutes.
  6. To prepare the dumplings; place the polenta, flour, salt and butter in a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips and add the herbs. Stir in enough water to form a smooth dough and shape into 8 evenly-sized dumplings.
  7. 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time remove the stew from the oven, add the dumplings, return to the oven uncovered and continue to cook.
  8. Serve immediately with seasonal vegetables.