Leg of Lamb with Fennel
Photo: Anna Williams
Fennel looks like celery but has a feathery green top. It smells and tastes a bit like licorice.
Yield: 6 servings
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Place the lamb and vegetables in the oven, roast for 1 hour, then remove. Cover the vegetables with foil to keep warm.
- 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.
- Remove the lamb from oven, transfer to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
- 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.
- Carve the lamb into thin slices and place on a platter with the vegetables. Serve with the sauce.
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