We have been seeing these massive fresh artichokes in the local shop and when the Wednesday farmers market rolls into town. We have never really prepared fresh artichoke’s before and usually opted for the frozen variety (which would be fine to use here too, but would not have been the reason we ended up cooking the recipe).
A little look into artichoke recipes from our books found this delicious sounding recipe below. So we went to the market and picked up four lovely purple artichokes, went to the local butcher for some lamb neck (nice cheap cut of meat that likes some slow cooking) and the grocery store for the remainder of the ingredients we didn’t have in the house.
The recipe is from Sam & Sam Clark’s book “Moro”, which anyone who likes Spanish and Moorish food should be looking to get a copy. The Spanish dish is known as: Corero con alcachofas y hierbabuena. Slow cooked lamb with artichokes and mint it is.
Slow cooked lamb with artichoke, potato and mint – Adapted from Sam & Sam Clark
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 large artichokes (or frozen artichokes if required)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1.5kg neck of lamb (with bone), cut into thick pieces, trimmed of skin and fat
2 tablespoons plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (if dried use half)
175mls dry to medium oloroso or amontillado sherry (or we ended up using Noilly Prat as we couldn’t find any sherry in Morzine)
3 bay leaves, preferably fresh
5 medium red skinned potatoes, quartered
1 small bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped
sea salt and black pepper
Heat half the olive oil over medium heat and slow cook onions for 20mins or so until golden and sweet. Drain and discard onion oil. Meanwhile prepare the artichokes.
Start with a bowl of water and squeeze some lemon juice into it to prevent the artichokes from going dark. Cut the stalk off close to the base and break the outer tough leaves away by hand. The part of the artichoke that you eat is yellow in colour, so peal away the green/purple leaves until the yellow heart section is uncovered. Chop the top off the artichoke to show mostly yellow tops of leaves. Use a knife or vegetable peeler to scrape the bottom of the artichoke back to the yellow soft flesh. Quarter the artichoke, rub lemon juice on the cut edges to prevent colouring and you will see the hairy choke which needs to be thoroughly removed with a teaspoon. Place artichoke quarter into the bowl of water and lemon juice until required.
Use a large saucepan, heat the remaining of olive oil. Dust lamb with flour and brown on each side in the hot oil (you will likely need to do this in batches) then add garlic and thyme and fry for a minute. Reduce the heat to low, add the sherry and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the onion and bay leaves with enough water to cover the lamb generously (1.5 litres or so). Season with salt and pepper and simmer gently with the lid half on for 2 hours until the meat falls off the bone. About 20 mins before the end of the cooking, add the potatoes and artichokes. When vegetables are tender stir through mint and check seasoning again.
Serve with fresh bread (or in case of the photo below – leftovers served with mashed potato)