Lamb Chili

Fancy, right? I made (NOT NEARLY ENOUGH) of this for my Catechism reading group last week and I realized something: if you use lamb in anything, even the most homely of dishes, people think you’re fancy. I’m guessing this is probably only true in the states, where giant cows are somehow less extravagant than tiny low-environmental-impact animals, but lets take advantage anyway.

I picked up ground lamb at the store with dreams of these baked kebabs my friend Emily made years ago after returning from a trip to Israel with spices I had never heard of. But reality set in when I got home and didn’t even know what those spices were, let alone own them. However, I did have beans, tomatoes, boring regular spices, and a dinner to host. So this happened. And I am glad it did. The lamb didn’t disappear behind the spices as I feared it might. It brings something very different to the whole chili situation than beef does, adding an unexpected flare to the experience. So fance it up with some lamb chili!

I’m going to be completely honest with you: chili is my improv territory. I never know what’s going to happen when I start making it and my “recipes” are generally written from memory the next day. So this is that. Plus I don’t even have any photos for you. And I call this a blog. But people asked for the recipe, so I thought it was worth sharing. Here’s a mental image, if you won’t make things you can’t see on the internet: it looks like chili. 

Lamb Chili


  • 1-11/2 lbs ground lamb
  • 2 cans diced tomato (I used one fire roasted with green chilies and one plain)
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 can or bottle of beer (go cheap, it doesn’t really matter)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 lime
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2-21/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 11/2 Tbsp cumin
  • 11/2 Tbsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • pinch allspice
  • salt and pepper


  1. Dice the onion and cook in a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt over medium heat until it begins to caramelize.
  2. When the onions start to look dry, add the can of beer and deglaze the pan.
  3. Stir in the garlic (minced) and keep cooking, stirring occasionally, until the beer is reduced by half.
  4. Add the ground lamb and stir it around until its broken up, taking on color, and the onions are evenly distributed.
  5. Mix in the spices.
  6. Add the tomatoes and beans, and keep stirring occasionally.
  7. Allow the chili to simmer for at least twenty minutes, then take a taste and add additional spices if it seems necessary. I started with just 1 Tbsp of cumin and coriander, but decided it could use more. If you’re into spice, I would definitely add more cayenne.
  8. Add the lime juice last.
  9. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream or yogurt or sliced green onion or whatever you want.

About toeachhisscone

Hi. My name is Heather. I am Catholic and I like to feed people. Basically, I over-think, over-cook, over-eat, and then over-write about it. This is where that last part happens. Welcome.

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