Sunday, February 26, 2012


Lamb and Artichokes a la Greque

Many years ago our friend Hannah decided to write a cookbook.  We eagerly offered ourselves as guinea pigs, were accepted and enjoyed many wonderful dining experiences and a few truly dreadful ones.  The following recipe is our absolute favorite of all the dishes she made for us over the months she worked on the cookbook.  It was fun sharing her many inventive and interesting dishes.  I’ve also always admired her desire to actually write a cookbook given the fact that she had a kitchen which was more on the lines of a walk in closet and was basically designed to make a cup of coffee and that was about it.  This was in a wonderful old apartment building in Hollywood which was built in the 20’s when people who could afford to live in such posh surroundings ate out.  At least that’s the only thing I can figure out.  She had no counter space, one electrical outlet, the tiniest oven I’ve ever seen, a two burner stove, about three small cabinets and a sink in which you could wash your hands but a pot or a dish was a real challenge.  She did it anyway and created the successful but now out of print book THE ONE POT DINNER.   Not only that but she went on to write two additional cookbooks, THE THIRTY MINUTE DINNER and FOILED AGAIN in which all the dishes were cooked in foil.  Both were full of delicious, interesting meals made as simply as possible.  Throughout her entire cookbook research, testing, development and writing we got to eat at her apartment several times a week.  Lucky us.  Yeah! 

Again this recipe is adapted from Hannah Scheel’s out of print book THE ONE POT DINNER, enjoy.  

2 to 3 pounds lamb stew meat
1 large onion, sliced or coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1/2 teaspoon anise seed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
2 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 beef bouillon cube
2 10 ounce packages frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven and saute the sliced onions for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.  Remove the onions and add the cubed lamb, in batches if necessary, and brown well on all sides. 

Mix lamb and onions together, sprinkle with mint and anise seed, salt and pepper.  Add the bouillon cube and pour the wine and water over all.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer, covered, for 1 hour.  Add the thawed artichoke hearts together with the lemon juice and continue simmering for another 20 minutes.

Serve with a good crusty bread and a salad of greens with feta and whatever else strikes your fancy.  

4 Generous servings.  Lamb dish freezes beautifully.

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