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Squash and Lentil Lamb Stew

My family lived in New Zealand many years ago. Every Sunday my mother made a lamb stew—it was Dad's favorite! I changed the recipe to suit my family's more modern palates, but it seems just as exotic and delicious. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Cook: 6 hours
  • Makes
    8 servings (2-1/2 quarts)


  • 1 can (13.66 ounces) coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound lamb or beef stew meat (1-1/2-inch pieces)
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 pound)
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup lime juice


  • In a 5- or 6-qt. slow cooker, whisk together first 7 ingredients. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat; brown lamb in batches. Add to slow cooker.
  • In same skillet, saute onions in remaining oil over medium heat until tender, 4-5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Add to slow cooker. Stir in lentils and squash.
  • Cook, covered, on low 6-8 hours, until meat and lentils are tender. Stir in spinach until wilted. Stir in cilantro and lime juice.
    Freeze option: Freeze cooled stew in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally; add broth if necessary.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • For the best browning, blot meat dry beforehand.
  • No peeking! Opening the slow cooker allows steam to escape, causing the temperature to drop. You may need to add 20-30 minutes to the cook time for each time the lid is lifted.
  • Braised meat is done when it is fork-tender. Overcooking may cause meat to become stringy and dry.
  • Feel free to sub light coconut milk—you'll get great coconut flavor but with less fat.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1-1/4 cups: 411 calories, 21g fat (11g saturated fat), 38mg cholesterol, 777mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 6g fiber), 23g protein.

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