Artichoke and Greek Lamb Stew

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  6 servings
Prep Time:  30 minutes Cook Time:  2 hours 40 minutes

Artichoke and Greek Lamb Stew

This Greek-inspired stew will fill your home with an enticing aroma as it cooks slowly throughout the day. It’s a lovely special-occasion dish—a nice change from chicken or brisket for your Seder table—and it works for a variety of special diets, as it’s nut and egg free.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound boned lamb, leg or shoulder meat, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch cubes

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)

3 medium carrots, peeled, cut in 1-inch pieces (about 1½ cups)

1½ cups fresh mushrooms, quartered

3 teaspoons fresh marjoram

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup dry white wine

2½ cups low-sodium beef broth, divided

3 cups frozen quartered artichokes, defrosted, or fresh-packed artichoke hearts

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons fresh chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley

Instructions

  1. Prepare a parchment lid for the Dutch oven (see Kitchen Tip). Position a platter near the stovetop. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Pat the lamb dry and season with salt and pepper. Add the lamb, working in batches as necessary, without overcrowding the pan and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the prepared platter. Lower the heat to medium. Add the onion and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lamb begins to caramelize.
  2. Add the carrots, mushrooms, and marjoram and cook for  3 to 4 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften and the marjoram is fragrant.  Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add the white wine to deglaze (see Kitchen Tip) the pot, scraping up any browned bits. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the wine reduces in volume by half. Return the lamb to the pot. Add 2 cups of the beef broth and the artichoke hearts. Simmer, covered with the prepared parchment lid, stirring occasionally until the lamb is tender, for 1½ to 2 hours. Gradually stir in the remaining ½ cup of broth if stew begins to dry out.
  4. Before serving, add the parsley and lemon juice to taste.  Divide among 4 serving bowls and serve immediately.

Kitchen Tips

Deglazing simply means making a sauce—or the basis of a sauce—by adding a liquid such as wine, broth, or water to a pan in which you have sauteed some food, usually meat, fish, or poultry. Remove the food from the pan first. Then add the liquid, stirring and scraping the pan to incoporate any browned bits from the bottom of the pan into the liquid. Those browned bits contain natural sugars released when the food caramelizes during sauteeing and they are packed with flavor. You can serve the liquid as is to moisten and flavor the food, or add other ingredients such as mustard, tomato paste, herbs and spices, or if you are cooking fish, cream.

Covering a stew with a piece of parchment paper works better than a lid alone to keep a stew moist and flavorful as it cooks. The key is to get the paper to fit right onto the surface of the stew. The easiest way is to prepare the lid in advance: place the pot on a piece of parchment paper, then trace around the bottom with a pencil. Another way (which is how the professionals do it) is to fold a piece of parchment into quarters. Then with the parchment still folded, hold the corner that is the center point over the center of the pot and trim the paper using the outer edge of the pot as your guide. When you unfold the paper, you should have a circle that fits onto the surface of whatever you are cooking.

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