1In a small bowl, mix fennel seed with 2 tablespoons oil and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Rub mixture all over the lamb. In a large heavy casserole or Dutch oven, heat remaining oil; add lamb. Brown it well over moderately high heat, about 20 minutes. Transfer lamb to a large plate. Wipe out the casserole. Add 1 tablespoon oil back into casserole; brown apples, garlic, shallots, carrots and celery. Return lamb to casserole; add wine, stock, bay leaves and rosemary. Bring to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid; transfer casserole to oven. Braise at 350ºF for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, turning the meat occasionally, until tender.
2Transfer the lamb to a large platter; cover with foil. Discard vegetables, rosemary and bay leaves. Simmer braising liquid until reduced to 1-1/2 cups, about 50 minutes.
3Remove string from roast. Slice the lamb; transfer to plates or a platter and spoon sauce on top.
4Chef suggestion: Serve with potato and parsley gnocchi and a soft poached egg.
Recipe and image provided by the American Lamb Board