Slow-cooked lamb with tomato, fennel seed & farro recipe


  • Yield: 6 Servings


For the Stock
  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1 large leek, chopped into chunks
  • 2 large celery sticks, chopped into chunks
  • a bouquet garni made of parsley stalks, thyme sprig and fresh bay leaf
  • a few black peppercorns
For the Soup
  • 2 oz (50 g) can anchovies in oil, drained but oil reserved
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 celery stick, finely sliced
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • ⅔ cup (150 ml) red wine
  • 14 oz (2 x 400 g) cans good-quality chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp tomato puree [paste]
  • 2½ oz (75 g) dried farro grain
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
How to Make It
  1. Put all the stock ingredients in a large saucepan (a stock pan if you have one) and cover with about 2 litres [2 quarts] of cold water. Put a lid on the pan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Skim any foam from the surface, then lower the heat to low–medium and cook, loosely covered, for 2 hours, skimming occasionally if more foam is gathering on the top.
  2. When the 2 hours is up, allow to cool a little, then strain out the vegetables and meat and reserve the stock. Discard the vegetables. Once cool enough to handle, strip the lamb from the bones, rip or cut it into small pieces and set aside (in the fridge if not using straight away). Measure the stock and, if you need to, reduce it down in a clean saucepan over medium heat until you have about 1 litre (4¼ cups). Allow to cool completely until set by the natural gelatine in the meat (it’s best to make this the day before), then scrape off and discard any fat from the top.
  3. For the soup, put the oil from the can of anchovies into a large saucepan set over low–medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook for about 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the anchovies, fennel seeds and garlic and cook gently for another 5 minutes or so until everything is smelling aromatic.
  4. Add the red wine and cook until it has reduced to about half its original volume, then add the lamb stock, tomatoes, oregano, tomato purée and farro and cook for 20 minutes, or until the farro is tender but still has a slight bite. Add the shredded lamb to the soup and leave to just heat through. Taste and season well with salt and black pepper, then ladle into warmed bowls and serve.

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