Breast of lamb is one of the most under-used cuts of lamb. Its fattiness puts people off, but stuffed and slowly cooked it makes a tasty, cheap meal. You can use any of the lesser cuts to stuff the breast with, such as minced shin or neck or incorporate offal, as I have done here. Fennel may not seem like an obvious partner for lamb but its subtle aniseed flavour works a treat.
1 breast of lamb weighing about 500g, boned
1 bulb of fennel, halved and finely shredded
1 onion, peeled, halved and finely shredded
3tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs
For the stuffing
1 small onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
A good knob of butter
200g coarsely minced lamb neck or shin and/or a mix of sweetbreads, liver, heart and kidney
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A couple of handfuls of wild garlic leaves, washed and dried
To make the stuffing, cook the onion in the butter for a couple of minutes until soft, remove from the heat; leave to cool a little. Mix with the minced lamb, then roughly chop one-third of the wild garlic; fold into the mix and season. Lay the lamb on a work surface and lay the stuffing down the centre then roll up tightly and tie with string every 2-3cm.
Pre-heat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Heat a roasting pan in the oven for 10 minutes, season the lamb; roast for 25-30 minutes, turning every so often. Turn the oven down to 160C/gas mark 3. Remove the lamb; scatter the fennel and onion in the centre of the roasting tray and place the lamb on top. Return to the oven for 2 hours, baste every so often. Give the fennel and onions the occasional stir; if they are browning too much, cover the lamb with foil. Once cooked, remove the lamb and keep warm in foil. Transfer the fennel and onion to a saucepan with the cooking juices and 3-4tbsp of water. Simmer for 3-4 minutes then chop the rest of the wild garlic leaves and add to the sauce. Coarsely blend half the sauce in a blender or a food processor; return to the pan and simmer for 2-3 minutes. To serve, remove the string from the lamb and cut into 1-2cm slices.
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