The fennel has flourished in the garden this year, so I have been looking for ways to incorporate it into our meals. Here's my favourites so far:
Fennel + Lamb Shank Stew
2 fennel bulbs
2 stalks of celery
1 large onion
3-4 medium sized lamb shanks (or 4 large slices of lamb neck)
3 garlic cloves
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
fresh zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups stock (vegetable/chicken/beef)
For the fennel gremolata:
Small handful each of parsley and fresh fennel leaves + mince finely with the zest + 2 garlic gloves. Combine in a small jug with the juice of 1 lemon (the one you just zested) and 1/4 cup olive oil. Stir to combine with a fork.
Chop onions, fennel and celery into thin slices. In a heavy-based saucepan/stewing pot, gently sauté onions, fennel and celery for around 5 minutes. Remove vegetables onto a plate and add a splash of olive oil to the pot. Next add the lamb shanks, turning each side quickly until it is browned. Return vegetables to the pot along with minced garlic, chopped rosemary, lemon zest, wine and broth. Simmer on a low-heat for 1.5-3 hours (you can go longer with a slow-cooker). Check after 1 hour and top up with more broth if necessary; you want your shanks to be just-covered in liquid to prevent them drying out. Serve stew with steamed rice or mash potato. Garnish with the fennel gremolata.
Apple + Fennel Slaw
1 fennel bulb
1 large apple
2 spring onions
small head of ice-berg lettuce or green cabbage (I used the former here)
mix of fresh greens and lettuce leaves, baby beetroot leaves etc
large handful each of fresh mint, parsley and chives
Shred fennel bulb. Peel and slice apple into thin strips. Do the same with the carrot or grate like I did here. Shred ice-beg lettuce or cabbage if using. Chop herbs and spring onions finely. Toss everything together in a large mixing bowl with the green leaves.
For the dressing:
1/2 cup homemade mayonnaise (sour cream or creme fraiche works well too)
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of an orange or a large lemon (orange adds a lovely sweet note)
2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients mentioned above in a small jug and pour over salad. Toss gently and serve.
ABOUT the author
Emily Clare Sims is a farmer and mama to three young boys. Each day she looks for ways to notice beauty, contemplate her faith and savour the seasons...