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Lamb stew with fennel, orange and rosemary

Diana Henry / 23 May 2016

Diana Henry's recipe for a rich lamb stew flavoured with fresh herbs, garlic and citrus.

Lamb stew with fennel, orange and rosemary
Lamb stew with fennel, orange and rosemary

Cooking time

1 1/2 hours




  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g cubed lamb shoulder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 big plum tomatoes, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 broad strips orange rind
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • Pinch fennel seeds, bruised
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 300ml lamb or chicken stock
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 whole orange
  • Juice of 1 orange

To serve

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Leaves from 1 large sprig of rosemary, chopped
  • Zest of ½ orange, removed with a zester


A mellow dish with Provencal flavours, even though it’s finished off in an Italian way (with chopped fresh herbs, garlic and citrus zest). This feeds four so eat it over two days or freeze half of it.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a casserole and season the meat. Brown the lamb, making sure you get a good colour on it, in batches. Set the lamb aside and add another half tablespoon of oil. Cook the onion over a medium-low heat until soft, about 10 minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook for another 6 minutes or so, until the tomatoes are soft. 

Stir in the garlic and the fennel seeds and cook for a further couple of minutes. Put the lamb back in the casserole and add the orange rind, stock, tomato purée, rosemary and orange juice. Season.

 Bring to the boil then immediately turn the heat down very low. Cover and leave the lamb to cook for 45 minutes.

Trim the fennel – reserving any feathery fronds (chop and add them later) – and remove the tough outer layer of leaves. Halve lengthways. Cut each half into three wedges and slice out the little bit of core from each one.

Heat the final bit of oil in a frying-pan and cook the fennel wedges until golden, turning them over so that they get coloured on each side. Season. Add them to the stew and gently stir to combine everything. 

Leave the lid off and and let the lamb cook for a further 30 minutes. The juices around the lamb will thicken and the fennel should be tender.

Cut the top and bottom off the orange so it has a flat base to sit on. Slice off the peel and pith, removing it in big strips, until you are left with an orange with no pith. 

Cut out each segment of orange by slicing in between the flesh and the membrane that surrounds it and carefully levering it out. Five minutes before the end of cooking time add the orange segments (and any juice that has run out of them) to the lamb. Check the dish for seasoning.

Put the rosemary, garlic and orange zest onto a chopping board and chop very finely. Scatter this over the lamb just before serving.

Visit our lamb recipes section for more lamb stews and more.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.