Lamb and Artichokes Stew (Agnello ai Carciofi)
Preparation time: 90 min.
Serving lamb is the traditional way Italians herald the spring. Braising lamb with artichokes in a rich tomato herb sauce is an elegant way to present it. A winning combination for sure. Creamy polenta or a nice crusty farm bread completes the delight.
- 12 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- 2 rosemary twigs, finely chopped
- 2 thyme twigs, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 lemon, peeled and skin cut into very fine slivers
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 125ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine
- 250 gr (1 cup) peeled and chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- salt and fresh ground pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- 8 small fresh artichokes
- 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
Cut lamb into 4 cm (1 1/2 inch) cubes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat and brown lamb pieces all over. Do it in batches to achieve a nice brown color. Transfer lamb cubes to a plate, cover with aluminum foil and set aside.
Add herbs and garlic to saucepan. Lower heat to medium and sauté for 2-3 minutes taking care not to burn the herbs and garlic. Add wine to saucepan and bring it to a quick simmer while scrapping the bottom of the saucepan to release the nice brown bits.
Return lamb to saucepan, giving it a nice turn to mix all herbs with the meat. Add lemon slivers, saving some for the plate's garnish. Taste for salt and pepper. Add the nutmeg and the beef stock. Cover saucepan and let it simmer on low heat for about 45-60 minutes or until fork tender but not falling apart.
While the stew is simmering, prepare the small artichokes. Trim of the tips and outer leaves. Half artichokes or quarter pieces if they seem to large. Scoop out the fuzzy centerpiece, which is not edible.
Place prepared artichokes in a bowl with lemon juice to avoid oxidation. Drain artichokes and pat them dry. Heat remaining olive oil in saucepan over medium high heat. Sauté artichokes until leave tips start to have a nice brown hue. Add artichokes to the lamb stew and cook for 15 minutes further.
Just before serving sprinkle with parsley and the reserved lemon skin slivers.