Lamb and artichoke stew

(Jonathan Levitt for The Boston Globe)
May 4, 2011

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Serves 4

8 artichokes
1 lemon, cut in half
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3 cups water
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons fresh mint
20 pitted green olives
1 extra lemon, cut into wedges (for serving)

1. Snap off and discard the tough outer leaves on the artichokes. Leave behind the thick part at the bottom of each leaf. Stop snapping when you get to the pale green, tender inner leaves. Slice off 2 inches from the top of the artichoke. With a paring knife or vegetable peeler, peel the bitter green skin from the stems and base. Trim the stem to 1 inch. Spread the leaves apart and use a melon baller or small spoon to scoop out and discard the hairy choke. Rub the artichokes with lemon as you work.

2. In a large flameproof casserole over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add artichokes and cook for 5 minutes, turning once, until lightly browned. Remove and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, sprinkle the lamb with salt and pepper. Brown the lamb for 5 minutes, turning several times. Remove and set aside.

4. Add the onion, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice to the pan. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Return the lamb to the pan with the water and lemon rind. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cover the pan. Simmer for 2 hours or until the meat is tender.

5. Add the artichokes and continue cooking, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the stew thickens and the artichokes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Serve with mint, olives, and lemon wedges.

Jonathan Levitt