Loretta Sebastiani

Loretta Sebastiani
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Sheep stew with pecorino and salami
( Pecora alla Materana )

Authentic Italian recipe of Basilicata

Sheep, lamb, mutton (Italian castrato) are typical meat in the south of Italy. In fact sheep-farming was a very common work in the past. Sheep stew with pecorino and salami has two special ingredients: soppressata, kind of salami made with pork meat in Basilicata and other Italian regions and pecorino, a typical cheese of Italy.

difficulty: easy

time: about 3 hours

calories: 722 (kCal)

Ingredients / Serves 2

  • 500g (1.1 pound) sheep meat
  • 400ml (13.5 fluid ounces - 1 2/3 cup) white vinegar
  • 200g (7 ounces) onions
  • 200g (7 ounces) ripe but firm tomatoes
  • 50g (1 3/4 ounce) soppressata or salami, in a slice
  • A celery stalk
  • 1 hot chili pepper
  • 30g (1 ounce) pecorino (ewe's cheese), grated
  • 200g (7 ounces) potaoes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
easy recipe
preparation: 20 minutes
plus marinating time
cooking: about 2 hours
total: about 3 hours
How many calories in a serving?
Calories: 722 (kcal) 37 % - 3020 (kJ)
Protein: 35.9 (g) 72 % GDA
Total fat: 54.3 (g) 78 % GDA
Total carbohydrate: 23.9 (g) 9 % GDA
Sugars: 9.2 (g) 11 % GDA

Download free PDF version (197 download).

Recipe for sheep stew with salami and pecorino

Preparation and cooking

  • - Remove visible fat from sheep meat and bone
  • - Cut meat into chunks and place in a bowl.
  • - Pour in the white vinegar and the same amount of cold water.
  • - Let sheep meat marinate for about 30 minutes.
  • - Slice onion finely.
  • - Put onion and olive oil in a large saucepan.
  • - Let onions fry very lightly in olive oil in a pan on a very low heat for about 30 minutes (marinating time) adding a little ladle of hot water now and then in order not to brown them.
  • - Meanwhile peel ripe tomatoes and cube their pulp.
  • - Clean, wash and slice celery.
  • - Cut salami into little pieces.
  • - Then remove meat from the marinate and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  • - Add sheep pieces in the saucepan and brown on all sides for some minutes, stirring.
  • - At this point add tomatoes, celery, salami and chili pepper.
  • - Cover with hot water, season to taste with salt and continue cooking, half-covered, on a very low heat, stirring now and then, for about a couple of hours or until your meat is tender.
  • - Half an hour before the end of cooking add potatoes too, after peeling and cubing them.
    Add other hot water if necessary.

Just before serving

  • - Let cooking juice be well reduced.
  • - Sprinkle your sheep dish with pecorino and serve.



  • - Choose between two different cuts of sheep: shoulder or leg. The best is leg.
  • - The meat of sheep has a very particular taste, be sure your guests like it.
  • - Follow these suggestions to reduce cooking time: buy sheep meat and then "forget" it in the freeze for some months, cut meat into pieces as you can see in the photo and then marinate meat in water and vinegar for about 2 hours.
  • - If you want to know more about soppressata read this page on Wikipedia. Soppressata is an Italian salami well known from the north to the south of our country, made with pork meat. Besides we link 2 sites where you eventually may buy it: igourmet and marianofoods
  • - In the photo you can see sheep stew before serving with no pecorino. So you can see more details of this dish easily.

Menu planning

  • - What about preparing sheep stew for a get-together with friends? Sheep stew is a tasty dish but not all people like sheep meat. Besides it can be difficult to digest it and not very easy to plan a complete menu with it.
    So the only solution is to throw a thematic dinner menu inviting only people who like sheep taste. Accompany this main dish that is sheep stew with a lot of assorted seasonal vegetables, not too much dressed. Close your meals with fruit salad or a cake with no custard and whipped cream.

Healthy eating

  • - Nutrition facts tells us a clear thing: we can't often eat this sheep stew. It's rich in calories, so rich to be considered a single-course dish. Not only. You have to be careful in planning your other meals of the day to stay within the suggested calories. Choose low-calorie, vegetarian lunch.
    The amount of fat is very high too, even though in our version all visible fat was removed from raw meat. I considered this fact when I calculated its nutrition facts. If you want a dish with the same calories and fat you have to follow our directions and doses strictly.
    Somebody could ask if there is a way to have a lighter recipe. The only thing to do is not to add pecorino and soppressata. In this case this recipe isn't made according to Basilicata style. It's a simple sheep stew but it is a very tasty dish in the same way. Here's its nutrtion facts!
    Energy kcal 571 kJ 2387
    Protein 25,2g
    Total fat 42,4g
    Total carbohydrates 23,6g
    Sugars 8,9g
    Fiber 4,4g
    Is there anything better? calories and protein are only partially reduced, total fat is less but always high. Is it worth it? Perhaps it would be better to eat this dish once in a while according to the traditional recipe :-)
  • - This sheep stew is too aromatic and heavy to digest to be prepared for a menu with a lot of courses. Furthermore I've just written sheep meat isn't appreciated by everyone so it would be better to create a theme evening with your friends as told in the tips and menu planning.
  • - This sheep dish has only 4.4 grams of fiber. The daily value is 30g. Another reason to choose foods rich in fiber for the other meals of the day.

By Loretta

What's the right wine for " Sheep stew with pecorino and salami "?

Pair Aglianico del Vulture (red wine from Basilicata-Italy) to this stewe sheep. This was the wine my husband and I tasted in Basilicata, the first time we ate this dish.