A few weeks ago the last of the season’s artichokes were harvested in my garden. They were actually the second harvest – the results from buds on the side. The main top growth artichokes were harvested last month. These are globe artichokes and are a mixed-bag. Some are wild prickly ones, others are green and red globes. I planted them some years ago from tiny shoots purchased in the market that were simply labeled αγκινάρες.
Αγκινάρες αλά πολίτα: Artichoke Stew
This is a polítiki (or a la poítiki) recipe which means it is derived from the cuisine of Greeks who came to Greece from Constantinople. A perfect vegetarian stew for artichoke season.
- 6 globe artichokes
- olive oil
- 1 onion
- 2 large carrots
- 2 large waxy potatoes
- 250 gr frozen peas (not baby peas or petits pois)
- large handful of chopped fresh dill
- 4 lemons
- salt & pepper
- water (about 100-150ml)
Cleaning the artichokes
Before you tackle the preparation of the artichokes, put cold water and juice one of the lemons in a bowl. This acidulated water is where you will put your cleaned artichoke globes as the brown very quickly when exposed to air.
Start by peeling away the bottom leaves until you can determine where the globe begins. Cut the the top third off. With a spoon, scoop out the inner hairs at the heart. Then pare away any tough dark green outer layer with a knife or strong vegetable peeler. You want to reveal the white globe “bowl”. Immediately place in the waiting lemon water.
Making the stew
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Cut your artichoke globes in half if small or in quarters if large. Prepare your potatoes and carrots by peeling and cutting into medium size chunks. Finely chop the onion.
Heat the olive oil on the stove top in a flame proof casserole which has a lid. Sautée the onions, but do not let them take on colour. Add the potatoes and carrots and let them cook for a minute while you drain the artichokes. Add the artichoke pieces and stir.
Juice 2 of the lemons and set this to one side. Sprinkle the flour on the vegetables in the pot. Add salt and pepper. Stir until the flour has been incorporated. Add the peas (still frozen). Stir in the lemon juice and about 100ml of water so vegetables just peek through the liquid. Place a grease proof piece of baking parchment on top and the casserole lid. Transfer to your oven and let it bake for 45 minutes.
Take casserole out of oven and check the liquid level of the vegetables. If the liquid is till almost covering the vegetables, remove the greaseproof paper and discard. Add the chopped dill and the juice from remaining lemon. Cover with the casserole lid and return to oven for another 30 minutes. The vegetables should be soft, but not disintigrating and the liquid thickened to form a lemony sauce. Check seasoning and serve.