Lamb braised in milk with garlic & fennel

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March 8, 2018

This recipe is rather rich and luxurious, hailing as it does from New York's Italian super chef, Mario Batali, and adjusted to use shoulder steaks.
The Florentine fennel is a BFS addition. For some reason wild fennel seed and Florentine fennel bulbs are rarely used together but I can’t think why. It seemed to work.

  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 2 hrs


3 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste

2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

1 tsp (heaped) fennel seeds

2 tbsp olive oil

4 lamb shoulder steaks

2 large fennel bulbs—each cut into six wedges

600 ml milk

150 ml double cream or crème fraîche

2 rosemary sprigs


1Mix the garlic with the flat leaf parsley and fennel seeds to form a coarse paste.

2In a large, heavy casserole, heat half the olive oil and brown the fennel wedges all over. Remove the fennel and add the rest of the oil.

3Add the garlic paste and cook over moderate heat for about 1 minute. Increase the heat and add the lamb steaks. Cook, turning, until lightly browned all over.

4Transfer the lamb to a bowl, scraping the herb mix back into the pan. Add 150ml of the milk to the casserole and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Add the remaining 450ml of milk, the cream and rosemary.

5Season the lamb with salt and pepper and return to the pan with the fennel. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is tender; about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

6Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lamb and rosemary to a bowl; again scraping any gunk back into the pan. Discard the rosemary. Boil the milk mixture over high heat until reduced by nearly half.

7Purée the hot milk mixture in a blender. Return the sauce to the casserole, add the lamb and simmer over low heat until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper and serve.