Artichokes, Lamb and Asparagus. It must be spring.  April 16, 2017

A few weeks back, on a whim, I ordered a case of baby (baby!) artichokes from California and then promptly forgot all about them. They arrived, unexpectedly, when I was in the midst of a stomach thing. Among other things I was supposed to stay clear of was roughage. I am pretty sure whole baby artichokes fall into the roughage category.

So there they sat in the kitchen, waiting for me to summon the energy and inspiration to do something with them. Eventually, I decided to dispense with energy and just cook.

I made one of my favorite Joanne Weir recipes — braised lamb with artichokes. It’s a sensational dish — and I don’t eat lamb. All you do is sear a leg of lamb in olive oil, add a couple of chopped onions til they brown, and braise it in chicken broth and white wine with some thyme. Along the way you add 40 cloves of garlic and a bunch of sautéed baby artichokes. Simmer the whole thing for a couple of hours, until the garlic melts into a creamy gravy. You don’t need to thicken it. It’s perfect.

I serve it with crispy potatoes — just braised tiny potatoes in lemon juice, chicken broth and olive oil till tender, then smashed flat, drizzled with oil, salted and peppered and roasted till crispy. Roasted asparagus and we were set.

Happily, it turned out to be Easter weekend so the meal we would have had anyway was right in season.

I barely made a dent in the artichokes though. Looks like I’ll be marinating the rest.

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