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Artichokes braised with peas

or leeks

or potatoes

Ingredients: quantities per person
½cup prepared artichokes—1 large or a couple of small artichokes.
½cup onions
garlic to taste
1cup vegetables— choose from peas, broad beans, leeks or potatoes
dry oloroso sherry
chopped fresh mint (optional but recommended)

If using leeks or potatoes, add these when you add the artichokes; peas or broad beans just need time to cook, no more, so add them just in time.

This recipe, comes from Moro, an excellent restaurant in London. I have also met with something similar in the wild. In Turkey, one easter in the 1980s—before the roads were built, we stopped in, by boat, at a tiny hamlet on the coast of the Datcha peninsula, North of Yasikoy. It was so early in the season that there was nothing much to eat except this vegetable stew, made there with artichokes so young they could be eaten whole and broad-beans so tender that the pods could be eaten with the beans. With potatoes and dill (no sherry there) it made one of the best dishes I have ever tasted.

Peel and dice your onions. Sweat them slowly with a little olive oil while you prepare the artichokes.If you prepare the artichokes in advance, put them in water acidulated with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice. Trim any dry or woody part of the stalk. Cut off the spiky top. With a sharp knife cut away the remaining green parts of the leaves. Scrape out the choke. Cut what remains into wedges, and add them and pressed garlic to the onions. Sweat these gently together until the onions are soft and sweet. Add a good splash of dry Oloroso and reduce.

The liquid should evaporate during cooking to leave the vegetables moist, but not soupy.

Add enough water to half-cover the vegetables. Cover and braise in a slow oven (300 °F 150 °C) for about 40 minutes or more, until everything is tender. Now add peas, stir, and cook for five minutes, or more if your peas are frozen. Add chopped mint. Stir, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

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