Cumin Ground Lamb with Braised Napa Cabbage

When faced with a cabbage my first instinct is to braise it. When faced with a 15″ long and 8″ diameter Napa cabbage my impulse was to braise it for Saturday night dinner. My partner in cookery suggested some lamb to go with it and his Interweb search turned up a candidate recipe. A bit of tweaking to fit other items that were part of the meal and this was the result.

[Cumin Ground Lamb and Braised Napa Cabbage]

Cumin Ground Lamb and Braised Napa Cabbage

The idea for this recipe came from this recipe at the Hot, Spicy and Skinny blog. I’ve rewritten it to include the ingredients I used and reworked the instructions. Enjoy.

Cumin Ground Lamb with Braised Napa Cabbage
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes


  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup minced shallots
  • 8 cloves garlic, divided, 4 minced and 4 crushed
  • 5 lbs. napa cabbage, rough chopped, washed and dried
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 lbs. ground lamb
  • 2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • fresh mint for garnish


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallots and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat with oil. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring periodically, until softened.
  2. Add minced garlic and stir into shallots. Cook until fragrant (usually less than a minute).
  3. Add the cabbage, vinegar and a large pinch (or two) of salt. Cover and allow to cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Give the cabbage a stir and continue cooking for another 10 minutes or so.
  5. For the lamb – heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the ground lamb. Break up large clumps of meat into smaller pieces. Season with salt and black pepper. Cover and cook for ~5 minutes.
  6. When you no longer see pink in the ground lamb removed the excess fat, leaving about 2 tablespoon in the pan. Add the crushed garlic and ground cumin. Stir the garlic/cumin into the lamb until the lamb is well coated. Cover and cook for another minute or so.
  7. When ready to serve, transfer the lamb to the center of a platter and surrounded it with the cabbage. Garnish with torn pieces of fresh mint.

The ground lamb at my grocery store comes in these square “bricks”. It can be difficult when you first add the meat to the pan to break it up into smaller pieces. I usually let it cook for a minute or two after adding it to the pan and then use the spatulla to break it up into quarter-sized pieces.

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