This recipe is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Everyday book. I have to say that if you’re thinking of doing a roast of any kind, you won’t go far wrong if you check out a Hugh recipe. This one takes a little bit of work at the beginning but once you have all the prep done, the cooking is a breeze. Ask your butcher to prep the meat. I guarantee they will do it quicker than you can (unless you are a qualified butcher in which case, carry on).
2 breasts of lamb (bones, skin and excess fat removed)
2-3 fennel bulbs (cut into 6 pieces each)
2 large or 4 small onions (cut in quarters or half, depending on size)
2 lemons (you can use the zested ones from the stuffing)
A little white wine or water (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Knob of butter
3 or 4 small shallots (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (crushed)
125g fresh breadcrumbs
75g dried apricots (chopped)
Grated zest of 3 lemons
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 medium egg (lightly beaten)
Preheat oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.
Make the stuffing by melting the butter in a small pan. Add the shallots and garlic, cook until soft and remove from the heat. In a large bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the apricots, lemon zest, thyme and add the shallot mix with plenty of seasoning. Stir in the egg to bind.
Lay the breasts flat on a board, season well and then spread the stuffing evenly, leaving a little space at the edges and at each end. Roll the breasts up tightly and tie each one with 3 or 4 pieces of string.
Place the rolls in a roasting dish. Put into the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Remove and turn the temperature down to 150C/300F/gas mark 2. Lift the lamb onto a board and scatter the fennel, onions and lemon wedges in the roasting tin. Turn them in the oily pan juices and season with salt and pepper.
Place the lamb rolls on top and return to the oven for another 1 1/2 hours, turning the fennel, onions and lemons occasionally, until both meat and veg are tender. If it starts looking a little dry, sprinkle with a little wine or water.
Allow the meat to rest for about 15 minutes, then cut into thick slices and serve with rice or couscous and the roasted fennel and onion.
Optional kitchen porn:
Dualit food processor (to make breadcrumbs)