Main Dish: Lamb Stew with Pomegranate

Photo: Shannon Sarna/JTA

By Shannon Sarna, JTA

Brisket is the quintessential American Jewish dish for holidays. But in Israel and for Sephardi Jews, lamb is a far more common main dish to serve for special occasions. This lamb is sweet and savory, and actually takes less time to cook than a brisket. It’s perfect to serve on top of fluffy couscous or rice, and it’s particularly striking due to the jewel-toned pomegranate seeds and fresh herbs on top.


  • 3 pounds lamb stew meat, cut into 2- to 4-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 1/2-3 cups water or stock
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds, divided
  • Fresh parsley, mint and/or cilantro for serving


1. Heat a heavy casserole with a little oil over medium-high heat. Sear lamb pieces on each side until lightly golden.


2.  Remove lamb.

3. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and saute for another 3 minutes.

4. Place lamb back into the pot and add salt, pepper, cinnamon stick, pomegranate molasses and half the pomegranate seeds.

5. Add 2 to 2 1/2 cups water or stock, until meat is cover. Bring to a boil.

6. Reduce the heat to low-medium, cover and continue to cook over low heat for about 2 hours. Check on stew periodically, and add more water if needed. Lamb should be fork tender when it is done.

7. Serve stew over couscous or rice. Drizzle top of stew with additional pomegranate molasses (around 1-2 tablespoons), the remaining pomegranate seeds and freshly chopped herbs such as parsley, mint and/or cilantro.