Dining al desko: Lamb, lentil and chickpea stew

An early wet season means we start slow cooking meats a little earlier than usual. This dish is the perfect winter warmer. Slow-cook a big pot of stew when you have the time and take this to work with you the following day… and the one after that… and the one after that. You’ll never get tired of these delicious flavours.

Lamb, lentil and chickpea stew


  • 1 tbsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Fresh pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp saffron threads
  • ½ tsp ground cardamoms
  • 1 kg lamb shoulder, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (kunserva)
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery sticks
  • Handful fresh coriander
  • Handful fresh parsley
  • 150g brown lentils
  • 150g red lentils
  • 1 tin (400g) chickpeas
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 egg per person, poached
  • 1 lemon, juice only


  1. Place the allspice, turmeric, nutmeg, saffron, cardamom, salt and pepper into a bowl and combine.
  2. Pour the half the spice mixture over the lamb and mix well with your hands, making sure all of the lamb is well-coated.
  3. In a heavy based stock-pot over high heat, heat some olive oil and brown the lamb on all sides.
  4. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, approx. 5 mins.
  5. Stir in the garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds.
  6. Add the tomatoes and cook until the start to release their juices, approx. 5 mins, followed by the carrots and celery. Cook until starting to soften, approx. 3 more mins.
  7. Scatter over the coriander and parsley and cook until fragrant.
  8. Pour over 8 litres of boiling water and bring to the boil.
  9. Reduce the heat to low and add the lentils, chickpeas, bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon sticks.
  10. Cover and cook for approx. 1 ½ hours until the meat falls apart, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  11. Stir in the lemon the juice and serve in individual bowls with a poached egg.
Rachel Zammit Cutajar

Rachel’s life has been one recipe after the other for almost 10 years. Though she is no longer editor of Gourmet Today magazine, food still takes centre stage. She is a freelance writer and Succeed’s resident chef. To balance the inevitable calorie intake she has become a reluctant runner and likes to lift weights, though still loves a day on the sofa binge-watching absolutely anything (good).