ARNI ME AGINARES (Greek lamb stew with artichokes, for four)
3 jumbo artichokes, stalks intact
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds lamb shoulder or boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1 inch pieces, fat trimmed
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large spring onions, sliced, or 1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup chopped mint leaves
- Trim the end of the artichoke stalk. Slice the tops off the artichokes horizontally about one-third of the way down. Discard the green outer leaves (Make sure you remove all of the green leaves – go all the way down to the pale yellow core. The outer leaves will not become tender and are prickly and unchewable in the finished stew). With a paring knife, trim away any dark green bits and peel the outside of the stalk. Cut the artichokes in half. With a spoon scrape out the choke. Cut the halves with their stalks into thirds and put them into a bowl of water into which you have squeezed the juice of half a lemon. This will stop their turning brown.
- Heat the oil in a large casserole. Drain the artichokes and pat them dry with paper towels. Brown them lightly in the oil over moderate heat and set them aside. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and brown the meat a few pieces at a time. Remove to a bowl.
- Add the onions and garlic and cook over moderate heat until soft. Add the wine, water and thyme, scraping up the cooking juices. Return the lamb pieces to the pan. Cover and simmer gently for one hour. Add the artichokes and cook for another 30 minutes or until they are tender. Correct seasoning.
- Beat the egg in a small bowl with the juice of the remaining one and one-half lemons. Whisk in three-quarters of a cup of lamb cooking juices. Off heat, add egg mixture to lamb and stir well. Sprinkle with mint and serve.
from Moira Hodgson, The New York Times, March 23, 1997