Puglia Lamb Casserole


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This is one of the oldest recipes still current in southern Italy, and comes from Puglia, an area famous for its sheep trails. These run the length of the region, from the Abruzzi to Lecce. The container in which the lamb is cooked is quite important if you want the dish to be really authentic. In Puglia they traditionally use a deep, copper pot with a narrow mouth to retain maximum flavour, but any deep casserole or even an ovenproof tagine will work well.


  • 1 kg/ lb lamb, any cut, cut into big chunks
  • 1 head of celery, roughly chopped
  • 115 g/4 oz soft pecorino cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 150 g/5 oz small tomatoes, lightly crushed
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 7-8 dried bay leaves
  • a small handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 dried hot red chilli, chopped sea salt
  • roast potatoes, to serve (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F/Gas 3. Pat dry the chunks of lamb, checking for any shards of bone.
  2. Put the lamb in a big bowl and add the celery, cheese, tomatoes, onion slices, herbs and chilli. Season with salt. Mix well using clean hands.

  3. Pack the mixture tightly into a casserole. Cover with a sheet of baking parchment and a heavy, tight-fitting lid.

  4. Bake in the oven for about 3 hours, or until the lamb is so tender that it has begun to fall apart. Serve with roast potatoes, if you like.


The taste of bay leaves is very prominent; it is intended to be so in this dish. For a less pungent flavour, use fewer leaves.