Lamb Stew with Artichokes
Arni Frikasee me Anginares - Greece
While artichokes are the classic choice for this dill-scented stew, you could replace them with celery, fennel or carrots. The last-minute avgolemono thickening of egg and lemon is an added flourish that truly pulls the dish together. The stew can be prepared a day or two ahead; add the avgolemono during reheating.
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 lb (1.25 kg) boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
3 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups (12 fl oz/375 ml) water or chicken stock, or as needed
1/2 cup (4 fl oz/120 ml) fresh lemon juice
6 medium-sized artichokes
2 lb (1 kg) assorted greens such as romaine (cos), dandelion greens or Swiss chard (silverbeet), stemmed, well rinsed, drained and torn into bite-sized pieces (optional)
1/2 cup ( 3/4 oz/20 g) chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground pepper
2 eggs, at room temperature
In a large sauté pan over high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Working in batches, add the lamb and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned lamb to a large, heavy pot.
Add more olive oil if needed to the sauté pan and then add the onions. Sauté over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 3 minutes longer. Transfer the contents of the sauté pan to the pot containing the lamb. Raise the heat to high, pour 1/2 cup (4 fl oz/ 125 ml) of the water or stock into the sauté pan, and deglaze the pan by stirring to dislodge any browned bits from the pan bottom. Then add the pan juices to the lamb.
Add the remaining 1 cup (8 fl oz/ 250 ml) water or stock to the pot, or as needed to cover the meat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a large bowl three-fourths full with water and add 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) of the lemon juice. Snap off the tough outer leaves from the artichokes. Using a paring knife, trim the dark green parts from the base and stem. Cut the artichokes lengthwise into quarters, then scoop out and discard the prickly chokes. As they are cut, drop the artichokes into the bowl of lemon water to prevent discoloring until needed.
If using the greens, fill a large saucepan three-fourths full with water and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste and then the greens. Boil until tender, about 10 minutes, then drain well.
When the lamb has simmered for 45 minutes, drain the artichokes and add them to the pot along with the greens. Continue to simmer until the lamb and artichokes are tender, about 20 minutes longer.
Add the dill and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes. At the last minute, in a bowl, beat the eggs until very frothy. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) lemon juice. Then gradually beat in about 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) of the hot lamb juices, beating constantly to prevent curdling. Slowly stir the egg mixture into the hot stew. Heat through but do not allow the stew to boil.
Transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve hot.