Instagram and other social media platforms have had a lot to answer too when it comes to the foods that some of us eat. Aesthetically pleasing looking dishes may at times be the main reason why we cook or eat certain foods. Just so they look pretty on our feeds. I read recently that stews had become unpopular as not so insta-friendly but let’s face it, they are probably one of the most soul warming types of food in the galaxy. Here is a dish I made recently, fennel lamb stew with Italian potato cakes, which ticked all boxes apart from Instagram appeal. However my friends and I were all beaming with joy with every mouthful and fighting for the last dregs in the pan. Sign of good times and good food.
[ingredients title=”Ingredients – 6 people”]
- 1kg of lamb shoulder, cut in large chunks
- Olive oil
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tbsp of fennel seeds
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp Chilli flakes
- 2 pieces pared of orange zest
- 300ml white wine
- 400ml beef stock
- 2 tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
- Bouquet garni (bay leaf, parsley and rosemary)
- 2 fennel bulbs, cut in half, then quartered lengthways.
- 1 kg potatoes
- 50g parmesan, grated
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1/2 tsp dry sage
- 30g unsalted butter
- Place the potatoes in salted water and bring to the boil. Cook for 25 minutes or until tender.
- Mix the flour and fennel seeds and season. Dust the lamb pieces in the flour mix.
- Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a casserole dish and on a medium heat, brown the lamb in batches until it has a nice golden crust. Set to one side.
- In the same casserole dish, add the onion with a pinch of salt. On a low heat, cover the pan and cook until the onion has softened.
- Add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the chilli flakes and orange zest.
- Pour in the wine, turn up the heat to medium/high and with a wooden spoon deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping the brown bits off the bottom.
- Return the lamb to the casserole dish and pour in the beef stock to cover the meat.
- Add the bouquet garni and chopped tomatoes. Bring the stew to the boil and then return to a low simmer. Cover and cook for an hour.
- By this point the potatoes should be cooked. Drain and peel the potatoes carefully.
- Put potato through a ricer. Mix in with the egg, parmesan, sage, lemon zest and season.
- Combine well together. Place between two sheets of greaseproof paper and flatten. Make sure its 2 cm thick
- Cut the potato cakes with a round 10cm cutter. Dust each potato cake in plain flour.
- Prepare the fennel. In a frying pan, heat a drizzle of oil and fry the fennel on a low/medium heat, carefully until the edges have slightly caremelised.
- When the stew has been simmering for an hour, remove the bouquet garni and orange zest; add the fennel and stir in carefully. Taste and season if necessary and add a few drops of lemon juice to balance out the flavours. Simmer for another 20-30 mins uncovered on a low heat.
- While the stew is finish cooking, cook the potato cakes. In a frying pan, melt the butter and on a low/medium heat, cook the potato cakes 5-8 minutes on each side until golden brown.
- Serve stew in bowl with the potato cakes.