Braised Lamb with Artichokes
Yield: 8-10 servings
pounds bone-in lean lamb shoulder
Tablespoons olive oil
large onions, thinly sliced
large garlic cloves, peeled, plus 2-3 tablespoons garlic, finely
cup fresh lemon juice
Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
of 1 large lemon, shredded
cup chicken broth, preferably homemade, or good-quality low-sodium
medium artichokes (see note), or two 9- or 10-ounce packages
frozen artichokes, thawed and patted dry with paper towels
cup fresh mint, chopped
and freshly ground black pepper
the lamb of as much fat as possible. Cut the lamb into 1½- to
2-inch pieces, leaving the bones in. However, cut the meat away
from any large, unsightly bones. Pat the meat dry with paper towels.
Do the initial browning in a large 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil until hot but not smoking. Add the lamb
in batches and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Fry only
a few pieces at a time. Add a little more oil to the pan only
if necessary because you want to burn off as much fat as you can.
Transfer the lamb as it is done to a platter.
there is any rendered fat remaining in the pan, wipe it out. Add
1 tablespoon fresh oil and heat until hot. Add the onions and
brown over medium-high heat, lifting and turning them as they
become deep gold, about 10 minutes, and scraping up any browned
bits. Add the whole garlic cloves and cook for 2 minutes longer.
Return the meat to the pan, season it with salt and pepper, and
turn the meat over a few times to coat it well with the onions.
Add ¼ cup lemon juice, 1 tablespoon rosemary, the thyme and lemon
zest and cook for 3 minutes.
Transfer the mixture and any scrapings from the bottom of the
pan to a 6-to 8-quart Dutch oven or large, deep casserole and
add the broth. Bring to a slow bubble, cover, and reduce the heat
to the barest simmer. Cook for about 1½ hours, or until the meat
is tender when pierced with a fork. Turn the meat frequently,
basting it with the onions and pan sauce.
Add the artichokes, and cook, covered, until they are very tender,
15-20 minutes. Continue cooking until a few of the artichoke pieces
break up and melt into the sauce, but follow your preference.
The lamb should be very tender. If there is a lot of liquid left
in the pot, uncover and turn the heat up to high, evaporating
enough so that the pan liquid is thick and syrupy. Stir in the
mint, minced garlic, and remaining 1 tablespoon rosemary and ¼
cup lemon juice and cook for 3 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste
and adjust the seasoning. There should be a pronounced lemon flavor,
so add a bit more juice, if necessary. For easier and more attractive
serving, remove the large bones that pull away from the meat easily.
Follow this method to prepare fresh artichokes: to prevent
the artichokes from discoloring, rub each surface you cut with
fresh lemon. Or dip into a large bowl of cold water acidulated
with the juice of a large lemon. Slice off the artichoke stem
and reserve. Pull off the tough outer leaves at the bottom of
the artichoke and discard. Using a serrated knife or scissors,
cut off the pointy top of the leaves just above the artichoke
heart or choke and discard. With a very sharp knife, cut off and
discard the remaining leaves, until you reach the palest soft
leaves. Now cut the artichoke in half vertically and pull out
and discard the purple-tipped leaves in the center. With a teaspoon,
scrape out all of the fuzzy choke and discard. Trim the artichoke
stem and peel it. Cut the stem into bite-size chunks. Halve the
heart halves again, so you have quarters. The artichoke and the
stem are ready to be used in the recipe. Prepare the remaining
artichokes in the same way. This dish tastes even better the next
prepare it in advance while retaining an herbal freshness, hold
off on the herb and lemon finish. Remove from the heat and cool
1 hour, then refrigerate, covered, overnight. Scrape off any congealed
fat from the surface. Reheat gently until heated through, and
proceed with the final addition of herbs, garlic, and lemon juice.