A lamb bredie (bree – a – die) is just another name for a lamb stew. But whereas a stew is typically cooked in a large amount of stock, a bredie uses hardly any stock and relies on the juices from the vegetables to form the liquid component of the dish. This recipe for lamb bredie was given to me by my mother-in-law, many years ago, and it’s remained a firm family favourite over the years.
Hearty lamb bredie made with lamb ribs
Nothing beats a good stew on a cold winter’s night, and this hearty lamb bredie (the South African term is lam bredie or lam ribbetjies) made with lamb ribs is one of the best lamb stew recipes ever. The lamb is succulent and fall-off-the bone tender, while the stew itself is packed with vegetables. The gravy is thick and full of flavour, and today I’m going to share my secret to making this gravy without the use of a thickening agent. Once you’ve tried it I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a winner.
I can’t think of many meals that satisfy the senses as much as a stew. The wonderful aroma that emanates from the pan as the stew is cooking; the sight of the meat and vegetables, piled on your plate, accompanied by slices of crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices; and the taste of those mouthwatering flavours that stay with you from the first forkful to the last. A good stew is definitely a meal made in heaven.
In my opinion the best cut of meat for making a lamb bredie has to be the lamb ribs. The meat on a lamb rib contains a lot of connective tissue, and can be quite tough if it is roasted. But pop it in a pressure cooker, or simmer it for a couple of hours on the stove, and it turns into a fork tender, juicy, meat that just melts in your mouth. Add some chunky vegetables of your choice, and you end up with a lamb stew that will warm up the coldest winter night.
How to make a lamb bredie
You can get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions on how to make this recipe on the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
You can make this lamb stew either in a pressure cooker, or in a saucepan on the stove top. I’ve included instructions for both below.
I love this stew because it is a way of using up all the vegetables that are lurking in the back of the fridge. You definitely need onions, carrot and potato. But after that, the sky’s the limit. Just use what you have available.
Brown the lamb
- You will need a pile of lamb ribs, cut into individual riblets. For four people you will need about 1kg (2.25 pounds) of ribs. Try to get ribs with as little fat as possible. If there is a lot of excess fat on the ribs you could trim it off before cooking.
- Brown the ribs in a little sunflower oil in the bottom of your pressure cooker, or in a large saucepan on the stove. You want to get the outside of the lamb nice and brown so that the fat starts to melt.
- Once the lamb is nicely browned, remove from the pan and set aside.
Brown the onions
- Now chop up a large onion and a stalk of celery and saute in the same pan until the onion starts to soften.
- Add 1 cup of stock made with a stock cube. If you can’t find lamb stock cubes, you could use chicken, or even vegetable stock cube. You won’t need more than one cup of stock if you are making this using a pressure cooker.
- If you are using a saucepan then you will need 2 cups of stock to allow for some evapouration (so just use 2 stock cubes in two cups of water).
- Stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any sticky residue left over from browning the meat and onions.
- Add 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce and tablespoon tomato puree and 1 teaspoon salt and give it all a good stir.
Special way to get thick gravy
The next step describes how to form a thick gravy using cabbage and potatoes.
- Finely shred about 1 cup of cabbage and grate the same amount of potato and add to the pan.
- The shredded cabbage and grated potato are added at the start of the cooking process along with the meat, and as they cook, they disintegrate, releasing their juices and flavour. The juices from the cabbage add additional liquid to the dish, and the grated potato acts as the thickening agent.
- Add the browned ribs back to the pan.
- Cook in the pressure cooker for 30 minutes on the highest setting.
- If you are using a saucepan on the stove, cover with a lid and allow to simmer for about 90 minutes until the meat is tender. Top up with additional stock if necessary.
Cook the vegtables
- After 30 minutes, release the pressure on the pressure cooker, give it a stir and then add the rest of the vegetables.
- You will need 2 or 3 potatoes and 2 or 3 carrots (depending on the size) chopped into chunky pieces. This is approximately 2 cups of potatoes and 1 cup of carrots.
- For the additional vegetables you can use any vegetables of your choice. I used broccoli florets, brussels and green beans. Chopped butternut or sweet potato would work well, as would chopped parsnips.
- You will need about 2 cups in total of the additional vegtables.
- If you like mushrooms you can also add 1 cup whole button mushrooms, or 1 cup chopped white or chestnut mushrooms with the vegtables.
- Cook on medium pressure for 10 minutes.
- If using a saucepan, add the vegetables and then simmer, covered, until the vegetables have softened – about 15 – 20 minutes.
- If you find there is a lot of fat from the lamb, you can skim some of it off the top of the stew using a large spoon.
I like to serve this lamb stew with slices of chunky bread to mop up the juices. You could also serve it over rice. See these links for how to cook rice in the oven, or how to cook rice in the microwave.
Convert grams to cups
To help you convert your recipes, I have created a handy Cookery Conversion Calculator which will convert ingredients between grams, ounces, tablespoons, cups and millilitres. I hope you will find it useful.
If you live at a high altitude you may find you need to adjust your baking recipes to compensate for this. You can read about how to do this in this post on baking at high altitudes.
Recipe – Lamb Bredie (Lamb Stew)
Lamb Bredie (Lamb Stew)
- Pressure cooker or saucepan
- Sharp Knife
- Chopping Board
- 1 kg lamb ribs cut into riblets
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 1 large onion chopped into 1cm dice
- 2 sticks celery chopped into 1cm lengths
- 1 large potato grated (approximately 1 cup)
- 1/4 small cabbage shredded (approximately 1 cup)
- 1 cup lamb or vegetable stock made with a stock cube
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 3 medium potatoes peeled and coarsely chopped (approximately 2 cups)
- 2 medium carrots peeled and chopped into 1cm lengths (approximately 1 cup)
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup brussels sprouts
- 1/2 cup green beans chopped into 2" lengths
- Trim any excess fat from the ribs
- Peel the onions and wash the celery and chop them into 1cm pieces
- Grate the potato. Shred the cabbage.
- Peel the potatoes and cut into 2cm chunks. Peel the carrots and chop into 1cm pieces
- Cut the broccoli into small florets. Cut the beans into 2cm lengths. Remove the outer leaves from the brussels.
- Dissolve 1 lamb or vegetable stock cube into 1 cup of boiling water.
- Brown the ribs in a pressure cooker, or large saucepan, in 2 tablespoons sunflower oil.
- Once the ribs are browned remove them from the pan and set aside.
- Fry the onions and celery in the same pan until starting to soften.
- Add the stock to the onions in the pan and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any sticky residue left over from browning the meat.
- Return the meat to the pan and add the grated potato and the shredded cabbage.
- Stir in 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce and 1 tablespoon tomato puree.
- Add 1 teaspoon salt.
- Cook on high pressure in the pressure cooker for 30 minutes.
- Release the pressure, stir, and then add the rest of the vegetables (potatoes, carrots, broccoli, brussels and beans)
- Cook on medium pressure for 10 minutes to cook the vegtables
- Serve over rice,or with chunks of crusty bread.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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