Rose’s Mums soul warming Italian peasant food

My friend Rose shared this amazing recipe with our family last night for dinner. Honestly, its a one pot wonder, it’s cheap and you shouldn’t have to run to the supermarket to get any extra ingredients. You can make do. This isn’t one of those recipes where you have to madly measure things, cook with your heart, your nose and your mouth. I haven’t got measurements, this is how I cook too.

Pork, peas and fennel.


One pork hock, shoulder cut, leg or loin on the bone. Just use enough to feed your tribe.

Lots of garlic, a few bay leaves, lots of wild fennel (the whole plant) lots of parsley and some water

Frozen peas


An onion, chopped

a cup or so of bread crumbs

a cup or so of finely grated Parmesan

Lemon zest

(Rose assures me dried currents would be good but we went without as I was out of dried fruit everywhere)


Brown off your onions and fennel stalks in a good slosh of olive oil. Add garlic and then the pork cuts, we jointed a shoulder, cutting it roughly into big chunks on the bone which the meat falls off later, the rougher the better

Brown them off slightly, add some fennel seeds, bay leaves, a bit of salt and lots of water, bring to a steady simmer and cover.

In a mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs, lemon zest, Parmesan, parsley and a few eggs to make it doughty and moist. Form the mix into ping pong sized balls. They should stick together- if not add another egg.

Pop the dumplings into the top of the pot, cover with loads of fresh fennel fronds and then pop the lid back on. The dumplings will swell as they adsorb the juices. When they are full, the fennel is olive coloured and the meat is falling off the bone, throw the peas in until their cooked and you’re done.

Serve with crusty bread. It’s one of those moments where you just want to eat it all night and sing Italian songs into your glass of red wine. We drank Granache. It was delicious.

Thanks for sharing Rose, I hope I’ve done you and your mum proud with my memory of your family dish, it’s now part of our family x

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