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Preparing Traditional Australian Lamb Stew for Camping

Preparing Traditional Australian Lamb Stew for Camping

Campfire Delights: Preparing Traditional Australian Lamb Stew in a Camp Oven for Your Next 4WD Camping Trip

Going on a 4WD camping adventure is not merely an tour into Australia's wilderness, but also a gastronomical journey. The delightful intersection where roaring campfire and traditional cuisine meet is indeed a unique experience and one such iconic dish that perfectly embodies this intersection is the traditional Australian lamb stew.

From Paddock to Pot: The Origins of Lamb Stew

Australia and lamb have a long, intertwined history. As a nation built on a strong agricultural foundation, lamb become a staple ingredient in many traditional recipes. The nutritional virtues combined with the robust flavour of lamb made it a favourite among settlers in Australia. The humble lamb stew, a hearty concoction of lamb, vegetables and herbs slowly cooked to perfection, was born out of necessity. Combining readily available ingredients into a simple, one-pot dish provided early settlers with much-needed sustenance with minimal fuss. Nutritious and flavour-packed, lamb stew quickly became a popular choice among Australian households.

A Taste of Tradition: Lamb Stew and the Camp Oven

In the context of a 4WD camping trip, preparing a traditional lamb stew in a camp oven holds a particular allure. Amidst the giggles, shared stories, and crackling fire, cooking a lamb stew becomes a collective labour of love, reinforcing the camping ethos of simplicity and unity. Historically, the camp oven was a beloved possession for pioneers, drovers and miners on the Australian frontiers. Designed to withstand the harsh Australian conditions, the camp oven offers a flavourful nod to the outback exploration, adventures, and survival stories. The traditional lamb stew, therefore, transitions from a dish to an experience, capturing the spirit of Australia’s robust camping culture.

Camp Oven Cooking: Back to Basics

Preparing the stew in a camp oven follows a basic yet satisfying cooking process. The warmth of the campfire not only cooks the food but also forms an intimate connection between the campers, the food, and the environment. With the conversation flowing and the fire glowing, the simple act of cooking becomes an unforgettable shared experience. Although the set of ingredients may vary based on personal preference, the essence of the campfire lamb stew remains untouched, rooted deeply in Australian tradition. Cooking in a camp oven demands patience, allowing flavours to develop gradually, adding a unique depth and intensity to the stew, unmatched by modern cooking methods.

Setting the Scene: Lamb Stew and the Camping Experience

As one sets up camp under the expansive Australian sky and the stars gradually blink to life, the aroma of the slow-cooking lamb stew wafts through the crisp air. These sensory experiences combine majestically, enhancing the wilderness adventure. The act of coming together around a warm campfire and sharing a home-cooked meal becomes the heart of the camping experience. Even though the specifics of preparing a lamb stew in a camp oven may differ from one camping trip to another, its position in Australian outdoor cooking culture remains eminent. Offering warmth, nourishment and comfort after a long day of exploration, the traditional lamb stew continues to be a cherished companion on many camping trips, effectively bridging Australia's past and present outdoor culinary journey.

Recipe: Preparing Traditional Australian Lamb Stew for Camping

Indulge in the taste of Australia's rustic heritage with this traditional lamb stew. Easy to prepare and brimming with warmth, it's the perfect hearty meal for your camping trip.


For the stew: - 500 grams/ 1.1 pounds of boneless lamb pieces (preferably shoulder) - 3 large onions, peeled and diced - 4 cloves of garlic, minced - 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped - 3 potatoes, peeled and chopped - 3 stalks of celery, chopped - 2 litres/ 2 quarts of chicken or vegetable broth - 2 tablespoons of olive oil - 1 tablespoon of tomato paste - 1 teaspoon of salt - 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper - 1 teaspoon of dried thyme - 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary - Fresh parsley for garnish For dumplings (optional): - 1 cup of self-raising flour (both metric/imperial) - 50 grams/ 2 ounces of unsalted butter, chilled and diced - Salt to taste - Cold water as required


1. Brown the Lamb: Warm the oil in a large pot. Add the lamb pieces, season with salt, pepper, and cook until well-browned on all sides. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside. 2. Sauté the Aromatics: In the same pot, add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent. 3. Cook the Vegetables: Add the carrots, potatoes and celery to the pot. Stir well to combine with the onions and garlic. 4. Add the Broth: Stir in the broth and tomato paste, making sure to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. 5. Return the Lamb: Add the lamb back into the pot. Sprinkle in the thyme and rosemary. 6. Simmer the Stew: Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer, covered, for about 1 hour or until the meat is tender and the flavours are well combined. 7. Prepare the Dumplings (if using): In a bowl, combine the flour and a pinch of salt. Rub the cold butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Gradually add cold water, mixing until the dough just comes together. 8. Add the Dumplings: Using your hands, form balls from the dough and add them to the simmering stew. Cook until the dumplings are puffed and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. 9. Serve the Stew: Ladle the stew into bowls, making sure each serving gets a generous amount of lamb, vegetables, and a dumpling. Garnish each bowl with fresh parsley and serve hot. The cozy delight of a hearty lamb stew while camping under Australia's sky proves a deeply satisfying culinary encounter. Bring this recipe along on your next camping trip for a meal that warms you up and connects you with traditional Australian cuisine.
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