Lamb Braised in Milk with Garlic and Fennel
- ACTIVE: 30 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 45 MIN
- SERVINGS: 8
Mario Batali calls lamb braised in milk "absolute poetry," especially when it's flavored with a scattering of fennel seeds. "This," he adds, "is what the Roman Empire must have tasted like."
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 quart milk
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- Using a chef's knife, chop the garlic with the flat-leaf parsley and fennel seeds to form a coarse paste. In a large enameled, cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic paste and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Raise the heat to moderately high and add half of the lamb pieces. Cook, turning, until lightly browned all over. Transfer the lamb to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Repeat the process with the remaining lamb.
- Add 1/2 cup of the milk to the casserole and cook over high heat for 2 minutes, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Add the remaining 3 1/2 cups of milk, the heavy cream, rosemary and the seared lamb and its juices. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lamb to a bowl; discard the rosemary. Boil the milk mixture over high heat until reduced to 4 cups, about 10 minutes. Working in batches, puree the hot milk mixture in a blender. Return the sauce to the casserole, add the lamb and simmer over low heat until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
A Montiano with notes of tobacco and cedar has the body to match the lamb and fennel. "A Super-Roman wine for a super-Roman dish," says Joe Bastianich.