This recipe for Lamb Shoulder, Fennel and Borlotti Beans is gluten, dairy and egg free, so is a perfect option when you’ve got a range of people dining with lots of different dietary requirements. You will need to begin this recipe the day before.
“This is my default Sunday family lunch dish (served late-ish) and it covers many principles that I hold dear: firstly, meat cooked on the bone; secondly, extending the value of expensive and precious meat; thirdly, requiring little work on my part; and finally, embodying a loaves and fishes theme.” – Jude Blereau
100g dried borlotti beans, or fresh borlotti beans to equal (don’t soak fresh beans)
2cm piece kombu
1.5 kg lamb shoulder, hogget or mutton shoulder, on the bone
3–4 small-medium fennel bulbs, stems trimmed and bulbs cut into wedges, fronds chopped and reserved
5 small red onions, quartered, or halved if very small
3 bay leaves
3–5 small rosemary sprigs
250ml chicken or lamb stock
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
For the marinade:
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon sea salt
generous grind of black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
The night before, soak the dried borlotti beans and kombu in enough water to cover by 10cm. Stand overnight.
For the marinade, use a mortar and pestle to coarsely crush the seeds with the garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Stir in the olive oil.
Make 2–3 deep incisions into the lamb and massage the marinade all over and into the cuts. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, take the meat out of the fridge to come to room temperature 1 hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the lamb in a roasting tin or cast-iron pan and roast for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, drain the borlotti beans and discard the kombu. When the meat is ready, add the fennel to the tin along with the onions, drained beans, bay leaves, rosemary sprigs and stock (if using fresh borlotti beans, simply add). Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C , cover with foil and bake for 3–5 hours, until the lamb is exceptionally tender and can be pulled apart with a fork. Transfer the meat to a plate, cover and set aside while you make the gravy.
Place the roasting tin or pan directly on the stovetop, over medium heat, and simmer for 2–5 minutes, until you have a sauce consistency, being careful to not mash the beans or vegetables too much. Taste and add the worcestershire sauce and season as needed. Carve the meat from the bone and return to the tin along with any juices. Gently stir through, sprinkle with the chopped reserved fennel fronds and serve.
● I prefer making this with hogget or mutton, however both will take longer to cook. Mutton can take up to 1–1½ hours extra.
● If making this dish without the borlotti beans, omit the stock.
Recipe extract from Wholefood from the Ground Up by Jude Blereau (Murdoch Books, £16.99). Photography by Cath Muscat.