I have cooked fennel bulb before but did not like it very much. Inspiration made a Fennel chocolate cake recently and I decided to try it again and this time I found it to be delicious. According to my daughter your taste buds changes every 7 years? Hopefully soon I will be able to like fresh coriander?!
Fennel is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) was one of the first plants to be cultivated by man and it has always been highly valued. It is regarded as a medicinal and culinary herb. It is not only cultivated in South Africa but it also occurs as a roadside weed.
Fennel is a good digestive herb. Apparently a leaf or piece of the stem can be chewed after big meals to prevent indigestion. The seed is also an antiseptic. Infuse 10ml finely crushed seeds in 250ml boiling water and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Strain and use as an antiseptic. Apparently it also aids weight loss!
Now to the recipe!
1 x 2kg leg of lamb
salt and black pepper
15ml fennel seeds
1 fennel bulb, cleaned and sliced
12 baby onions, peeled
200ml white wine
600ml orange juice
zest of 2 oranges
Season the leg of lamb with the salt, pepper and fennel seeds.
Place the sliced fennel bulb and the onions in the bottom of an oven casserole dish.
Place the lamb on top and pour the wine, orange juice and zest over.
Cover and bake in the oven at 160ºC for 4 hours.