One of our favorite recipes from Michael Psilakis' cookbook "How to Roast A Lamb, New Greek Classic Cooking". He describes the dish... "This is a delicious match for roasted lamb or grilled lamb chops, especially with some rice pilaf to soak up the juices. The gaminess of the lamb is a perfect partner for the bold, rich flavor of the artichokes. It's a soulful combination." We also love it with Sea Bass or steak.
- 8 medium artichokes, long stems left on, if present
- 2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large Spanish or sweet onions, thickly sliced
- 2 bulbs fennel, thickly sliced crosswise
- 2 cups white wine
- 2 quarts water
- 4 bay leaves
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons garlic puree
- Generous handful small, picked sprigs dill
- 4 ounces (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Pull off the tough artichoke leaves until you reach the pale yellow leaves. Cut off the pointed tops about half an inch above the base. Trim the dark bits from the stem and base with a vegetable peeler. As you work, throw the trimmed artichokes into a bowl of cold water acidulated with the juice of 1 lemon.
In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel, and saute until slightly wilted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and simmer briskly until completely evaporated. Add the drained artichokes, water, bay leaves, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and a generous grinding of pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, partially cover the pan, and simmer until the artichokes are soft and offer almost no resistance to the point of a knife, about 35 minutes.
Drain the artichokes and vegetables, reserving all the braising liquid (discard the bay leaves). Let cool for 10 minutes. Pour 2 cups of the braising liquid into a blender and add three quarters of the fennel and onion pieces (reserve the remaining vegetables and the artichokes). Puree until completely smooth. (Reserve the remaining braising liquid for another use.) Return the puréed liquid to the pan; simmer very actively over high heat to reduce and thicken the juices, 10 to 15 minutes.
Stir in the garlic puree, the juice of the remaining lemon, and the dill. Return the artichokes and remaining vegetables to the pan. Reduce to a simmer and swirl in the butter until melted. Remove from the heat.
Serves 10 as a side dish, as part of a larger spread.