This humble stew is one of many I have on the blog but somehow this feels special, not only because I took a few more minutes to ‘dress’ the plate.
10 years ago I’d never even heard of an artichoke let alone tasted one. Come to think of it most of the ingredients I now cook with today were alien to me back then.
Artichokes are a species of thistle cultivated as a food. The only edible parts of the plant are the base and hearts of the budding flower-heads and let me tell you they are tricky to get to! you have to fight your through stripping away coarse leaves and then the tricky part of scooping out the thistle / fur, all the while your rubbing the thing with a wedge of lemon to prevent it from oxidizing.
Saying that though if you can easily get hold of fresh ones, unlike me that get’s her hands on them rarely, they are worth the extra effort you put in.
They have a unique almost nutty taste they are used in salads, to make dips and like this in stews.
I first experienced artichoke a few years ago when my husband brought home a jar of artichoke hearts in oil. They were nice and nutty, a highly recommended hands-free first experience but what isn’t nice covered in olive oil and salad dressing?!
Later that year i got my hands on some fresh globe artichokes and made this tasty beef pea and artichoke tagine by cooking with alia. I used lamb in place of beef and we thoroughly enjoyed it, well I did more than the other half, he wanted more saying ”this would be better with carrots and fennel” ”really?!” ”yes, my mum always would make it with those” so now here we are a year or so later I remembered his request……better late than never
My Mother in laws additions work extremely well. The sauce being lightly spiced as I wanted to keep the lamb and more importantly vegetables as the main flavours.
on this occasion I did cheat a lot by using a can of drained and rinsed artichoke hearts( in water) only because the store we sometimes find them at was out of stock. If you can get hold of and prepare the real thing yourself I promise it will taste even better and remember no pain, no gain!