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Leg of Lamb with Fennel

Photo: Anna Williams
Yield 6 servings
Fennel looks like celery but has a feathery green top. It smells and tastes a bit like licorice.


  • 6 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 whole bone-in leg of lamb (6 to 7 pounds), preferably without the hip bone
  • 4 large fennel bulbs
  • 5 red onions, peeled and cut in eighths
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice

How to Make It

  1. Heat oven to 450[degrees] F. Drop the garlic into a food processor with the motor running and the knife blade in place and process until finely chopped. Add the rosemary, fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and pulse to make a paste.

  2. Cut 10 slits in the lamb, about 1/2 inch deep. Push some of the garlic paste into the slits and rub the remaining paste all over the lamb. Place the lamb in a small roasting pan and set aside.

  3. Remove the stalks and tough outer leaves from the fennel bulbs and cut each into eighths. In a shallow baking pan, combine the fennel and onions with the remaining salt, pepper, and oil, and toss to coat well.

  4. Place the lamb and vegetables in the oven, roast for 1 hour, then remove. Cover the vegetables with foil to keep warm.

  5. Check the internal temperature of the lamb with an instant-read thermometer. Continue roasting until it reaches 130[degrees] F for medium-rare, or 135[degrees] to 145[degrees] F for medium, checking every 10 minutes.

  6. Remove the lamb from oven, transfer to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

  7. Heat the roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom. Boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and juice and boil until reduced to about 1 cup, about 4 to 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

  8. Carve the lamb into thin slices and place on a platter with the vegetables. Serve with the sauce.