It’s interesting how the holidays make people (okay, me) wax nostalgic. I love the fact that every ornament on our tree is a memory jog of Christmases past; of trips taken, or crafts made. I find myself reaching for recipes that come trailing memories as well.
If you think about it, Christmas is all about nostalgia. In the cookies we make year after year, and the decorations that are unboxed and spread around the house. And again this year, in the making of a dish that was once a company staple, but has fallen out of favor over the years.
I adapted this recipe from a Frugal Gourmet recipe for Lamb and Artichoke Stew. It’s a bit rich for daily fare, but it’s a perfect recipe for a dinner party. It’s one of those easy one-pot recipes that are better made the day ahead and re-heated just before dinner. Add some rice and a big green salad and dinner is ready. The recipe feeds four to six.
4 TBS butter ( I used half olive oil, half butter )
2 pounds boneless lamb, cubed
3 onions. chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (extra for garnish)
1 can tomato paste (6 ounces)
1 cup dry white wine
2 14-ounce cans artichokes in brine, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
3 TBS fresh lemon juice
1. Heat the butter (and oil, if using) in a large frying pan. Saute the lamb until it is lightly browned on all sides. Remove to a heavy, oven proof pot. If you decide to fry the lamb in the pot you plan to cook the dish in, you’ll have to do it in two batches, or it will steam instead of sauté.
2. Once the meat has been removed, sauté the onions, garlic, and parsley until the onions soften. Add them to the pot with the lamb.
3. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tomato paste and wine. Stir well. The original recipe directed to simmer gently, covered, on top of the stove for 1 1/2 hours. I opted to bring it to a boil, and then put it in a 325 oven for that amount of time.
4. The lamb should be pretty tender after 1 1/2 hours. Add the artichokes, dill weed, and lemon juice. Return to the oven for another hour.
5. The dish could be served at this point, but it’s better to let it cool and refrigerate it for the next day.