There is one little dish I have been devouring the past few days: artichokes. Specifically artichokes with peas and carrots. A very light and fragrant lemony stew, sprinkled with dill and ready in minutes!
Seasonal cooking here in Greece is pretty much the rule, especially if you manage to propel yourself to the market. February has been a month of artichokes for me, you can find them everywhere! Whilst many in Athens complain about the lack of exotic veg, I couldn’t feel more at home, produce is local and seasonal at a stunning 90%. And the artichokes are huge!
I have a really soft spot for artichokes, but in the UK you would have to hunt for them in Middle Eastern grocers. Either frozen or in tins and occasionally fresh at a Cypriot grocer up on Seven Sisters road. Now that I have the real thing, I am ecstatic, and I am going to show you how to prepare them too!
- 8-10 artichokes, frozen or fresh
- 500 gr of peas
- 2 carrots
- 2 medium potatoes, cut in four
- 2 medium juicy tomatoes or approx 120 ml tinned tomatoes
- 1 lemon for its juice
- A small bunch of dill
- 1 onion
- 80 ml of olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
How to prepare the artichokes
The fussiest part of the dish is preparing the artichokes. I was a little daunted myself at first, but it’s actually much easier than it looks.
You only need the heart of the artichoke, so you will need to get rid off the stalk and all external leaves. (see below)
Cut and keep a small part of the stalk, approximately 4 cm. If your artichoke is fresh and young the stalks are very tender.
Working on the head, take the first 3 rows of leaves off and cut off the rest.
Then cut in half and run your paring knife along the bottom to remove the fuzz.
You should be left with this:
Artichokes tend to turn dark once cut. Place in a large bowl of water with a bit of lemon to keep them nice and fresh until they are ready for the pot. I wouldn’t worry about the colour that much, they tend to come back to normal once you squeeze some lemon in the pot.
What to do
Once you have the artichokes and veg ready, you are looking at a 30 minutes stew.
Start by sautéing the finely chopped onion and the sliced carrots.
When your onions are translucent, add the artichokes and potatoes.
Sauté for another 3-4 minutes, add some warm water to cover, the chopped tomatoes or tomato juice, the chopped dill, salt and lemon juice.
Let it boil for 15 minutes in medium heat, then add the peas.
In 10-15 minutes try your vegetables, they should be tender and juicy. Your delicious artichoke dish is ready for serving! Add some fresh pepper and even a little more lemon juice if you like.
Enjoy, and let me know if you can find fresh artichokes. I am really curious on how popular these are outside Greece.