Jersey Bites

Lamb Chili: Hey, Football Weather is Coming, I promise

Ok, I know it’s about 95 degrees out and Summer is not in any rush to hang up her “closed for the season” sign, but I had three pounds of “left over” ground lamb that I was not going to waste….dammit! I started with 5 pounds of lamb over Labor Day weekend. I was expecting to have a nice size party but my plans were thwarted (long story.) So consequently, I had a small gathering and we made those phenomenal lamb burgers that I posted a while back. If you cook them right (that’s the key) they are so damn good they’ll “make you wanna sass your mamma” (Paula Deanism, love that one. I’m sure she would finish it off with a southern mmmmhmmmm)

So, what to do with the remaining 3 pounds of ground lamb. No, freezing wasn’t an option, already been there and defrosted. I scoured the internet and my cookbooks and did a little on the fly tasting and tweaking and came up with this really yummy Lamb Chili. The goat cheese and chopped mint on top….perfection. Looks like Christmas in a bowl. Hey, just trying to keep thinking cool here people, roll with me.


2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 large yellow onion coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
3 lbs. ground lamb
1 Tbs. dried oregano
1 Tbs. ground cumin
4 cloves chopped garlic
2 (15 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 (19 oz) can black beans
1 Cup water
2 Tbs. light brown sugar
1 chipotle pepper diced
salt and pepper to taste
Crumbled Goat Cheese
Chopped fresh mint

Heat oil in large dutch oven. Saute onion and peppers until tender (approximately 10 minutes). Add garlic during the last few minutes. Add ground lamb, oregano and cumin. Brown meat and add about a teaspoon of salt. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Simmer for several hours tasting periodically. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Top with crumbled goat cheese and chopped fresh mint.

I know you will love this recipe once the weather turns cool and there’s a football game (Go Giants) to enjoy and the weather isn’t as “hot as a June bride in a feather bed.” (yep, you guessed it, thank you Paula.) I’m making fresh Flounder tonight, so I promise a lighter summer inspired dish in the near future.

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Author:Deborah Smith, Executive Editor

Deborah Smith is the Founder and Publisher of, a collaborative website focused on food news in New Jersey.


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4 Responses to “Lamb Chili: Hey, Football Weather is Coming, I promise”

  1. Lisa
    September 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm #

    It is never too hot for chili and this ones looks fantastic!

  2. narrows
    February 10, 2009 at 12:52 pm #

    Super Bowl-2009, South Carolina.
    I was a bit skeptical as I had a range of 6-86. Goat cheese and chopped mint????
    I am now spending an inordinate amount of time copying the recipe for our guests! The goat cheese dissappeared-literally. I guess the mint went the same way. Be aware that people will go back for seconds(or more) so consider doubling the recipe. Narrows

    February 10, 2009 at 1:04 pm #

    Oh, so glad you and your guests liked it. This is one of my favorite recipes.

  4. Geoff G
    November 16, 2011 at 2:41 am #

    I just have to say THANK YOU for sharing such an amazing recipe. I made this last Saturday and this will now officially replace any and all other chili recipes I have ever made (and I’ve made some good ones.) I have tried pork chili, venison chili, ground beef, etc, etc and this chili recipe is amazing. I made a few tweaks and seasoned it with some additional ingredients but WOW the flavor of this chili was just to die for. The 4 people I made it for all said it was the best chili they have ever had. I only had 2 lbs of gorund lamb so I added a pound of ground veal and that was a nice addition. Fabulous… Thanks again!

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