We’re Cooking: Braised Lamb with Fennel, Fresh Herbs and Pomegranate Seeds

Now that I have ventured into the world of cooking lamb I decided to doctor up my last recipe a bit for a holiday dinner we hosted the other night.  Some elements were the same as in my last recipe, but I took the flavors up a notch with the addition of fennel, celery, jalapeno and lots of red wine and fresh herbs.  I also gave myself plenty of time, starting the braise at about 4pm for an 8:30 dinner.  By the time we sat down to eat the lamb was super tender, just falling apart with incredible flavor and silky texture. The garnish of Pomegranate seeds at the end really adds a final burst of juicy, luscious freshness.


Braised Lamb with Fennel, Herbs and Pomegranate Seeds
Ingredients: (served 10)
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3 pounds leg of lamb, cut into 2×2 inch chunks
2 white onions – chopped
3 stalks celery – chopped
1 fennel bulb – frawns removed, cored and chopped
3 cloves garlic – chopped
1 jalapeno pepper – chopped (we kept the seeds intact to add that layer of heat – remove seeds if it is too hot for your taste)
3 carrots – cleaned and chopped
3 cups beef broth
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups good red wine
1 cup water
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro – chopped
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon – chopped
1 stem fresh rosemary – chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh mint – chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley – chopped
Salt and pepper
Fresh pomegranate seeds for garnish

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Season the lamb with salt and pepper and add the lamb to the pot. Brown the lamb on all sides.  Remove the lamb from the pot and set aside.  Add the onion, fennel, jalapeno and celery to the pot with the oil and lamb juices.  Cook for 7-10 minutes until the veggies are soft and starting to turn translucent.  Add the garlic and season generously with salt and pepper.  Cook another 3-5 minutes.  Add the lamb and any accumulated juices back into the pot and season with all the dried spices, stirring to coat.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, broth, red wine and water, along with half of the fresh herbs. Stir well to incorporate. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for several hours, stirring occasionally.  30 minutes prior to serving add the remaining herbs and the carrots.  Add more water if necessary.  When ready to serve adjust the salt and pepper to your taste and serve over creamy polenta or mashed potatoes.  Garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds.


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