John Pountney's Braised Lamb Shoulder with Fennel, Orange and Green Olives

Fennel is one of my favourite vegetables and if you plant in the early autumn, you should have a steady supply over the winter. This is a great accompaniment to slow cooked meats or just a general side dish. Fennel has a beautiful, gentle aniseed flavour. Its versatility means it can be eaten cooked or raw and is easy to grow.


Serves 4

2 fennel bulbs sliced
Olive oil
125g Pancetta, cubed
4 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
900g lamb shoulder, cubed
400g Italian tinned tomatoes (or your own bottled tomatoes)
1 tbsp best quality tomato paste
125ml white wine
300ml stock
100g Sicilian green olives pitted
Salt and pepper
Dried oregano
Zest and juice 1 orange
Flat leaf parsley, chopped


Lightly steam or boil fennel, set aside.
Heat a little oil in a large casserole over a medium heat and brown the pancetta, shallots and garlic. Set aside.
Raise the heat slightly, add a little more oil, add the lamb and brown on all sides.
Add the tomatoes and the tomato paste, stir briefly then add white wine, let it reduce for a few minutes then pour in the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes, add the fennel, olives, seasoning and dried oregano. Cover and cook for about 1 hour or until the lamb is tender.
Stir in the orange zest and the juice, cook for another two minutes, and serve with freshly chopped parsley.