Liquorice & Orange Lamb

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When I was young, I used to make an Orange and Fennel Lamb Tagine.  It came from Delia Smith’s Food Aid Cook Book.  I love the flavours of Orange and Fennel with Lamb.  For a long time, I have been thinking about how I could take the simple Lamb Tagine to the next level.  While daydreaming, I would ask myself how I might serve these flavours as a main meal in my own Gourmet Restaurant?

It was my husband’s birthday, and he asked me to make him a special meal – it was a perfect opportunity to try this dish that I have been contemplating for some time.  Here is the recipe.  He loved it!  I am sure your loved one will too!

For the lamb jus:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger
  • 100 ml of white wine
  • 800ml of lamb stock
  • 30g of unsalted butter +a little extra to sauté the onions.

Cook the onion, green pepper and ginger in a little butter until lightly caramelised.  Add the white wine, and reduce until evaporated.  Add the lamb stock, and again reduce until the jus becomes like syrup (at least 30 minutes, normally a bit longer). Sieve, ensuring you squeeze out all of the jus from the vegetables.  Just before serving, add 30g of butter stirring all the time to give it a nice gloss (do not bring the jus to boil after this step otherwise you risk the jus splitting).

For the Apricot Puree:

  • 200g of apricots
  • Pinch of Saffron
  • 100ml of white wine
  • Juice of 1 orange

Leave the saffron to soak in 50ml of hot water for 5 minutes.  Add the saffron & water infusion to the apricots along with the wine and juice of 1 orange.  Leave to soak for at least an hour.  When ready, mix with a hand blender and sieve.  If you find the mixture too thick, add a touch of water to get the right consistency.

For the Roasted Fennel:

  • 2 Fennel
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Cut the tops and ends off the fennel and then cut into quarters lengthways.  Keep the fronds of the tops to one side for serving.  Toss the fennel in the orange juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Lay out individually on a greased proof baking tray.  Place fennel into an oven at 180°C and roast for approximately 40 minutes until caramelised at the edges.  You may need to turn them half way through cooking.

For the Green Pepper Foam:

  • 2 green peppers
  • 200ml of chicken stock
  • 100ml of white wine
  • 200ml of milk
  • 2g of lecithin
  • Olive oil

Sauté the green pepper in a little olive oil until soft.  Add the white wine and chicken stock and boil until the liquids have completely evaporated.  Add the milk and slowly warm on a low heat for 3-5 minutes, but do not bring to the boil as the milk will curdle.  Leave to infuse for at least an hour.  Mix the mixture using a hand blender and sieve.  Bring back to the heat and once warm add the lecithin using a hand blender.  Again, ensure you do not bring the mixture to boil.  Collect the foam from the top of the sauce and use to garnish the dish.

For the Lamb:

  • 2 x 225-250g fillet or rump of lamb
  • 1 zest of an orange
  • 1  Liquorice stick
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger

Grind the liquorice stick in a spice grinder.  Mix the ground liquorice with the zest of orange and the ground ginger.  Spread the spice mix over the lamb and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, if not overnight.  When ready to serve, heat a frying pan until hot, add the oil.  Season the lamb and then fry until it is golden on all sides.  Transfer the lamb to a preheated oven of 220°C.  Cook for about 12 minutes, until pink in the centre.  Remove from the oven and leave to rest in a warm place for about 4-8 minutes.

TO SERVE:

Place the Fennel in the corner of the plate.  Add a spoonful of the Apricot Puree to another corner of the plate.  Place the lamb, cut in slices down the side of the plate.  Cover the lamb with a little jus, and then add the Green foam over the top.  To decorate add a frond of the Fennel that you have kept to one side.  Serve and enjoy!

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