Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lamb and Artichoke Ragù

If you don't think every day is a good day, just try missing one. – Cavett Robert

The finished dish. Very filling.

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It has been over two weeks since my last post...

I do have to apologize. It’s been far too long since I wrote. 17 days. This is by far and away the longest time between posts since I started this blog over three years ago. To make it even worse I had promised you a recipe using the artichokes I made in the last post.

Well, here it is – albeit very, very late.

I’m not sure what happened. I’ve been quite busy with what puts food on the table, and at the end of the day all I want to do is veg in front of the TV. I’ve also been splitting my time between my two “offices” which makes cooking, gardening (insert activity here...) much more difficult. I am both a country and city mouse.

You know, I even haven’t had time to go to the grocery store on a regular basis. I know, first world problems. But it does make it more difficult to think up and cook interesting food, let alone write about it. Although I have pulled out a few cool ideas from my pantry.

The weather this spring hasn’t helped either. I really have to think to remember one that has been this cold for so long. And we’re expecting a risk of frost again tonight. Those tomato plants don't cover themselves...

I also am allergic to wild pear blossoms. They have been in full bloom for over a week. A hazy head certainly doesn’t help to inspire activity either. But I hope to have turned a corner. I have to. Crappy meals don’t help the waist line, and it sucks to fit into fewer and fewer of my clothes.

Ready for the low simmer. Note the scant amount of liquid.
These posts are therapeutic for me in many ways, as well. I know some close to me just don’t get that, but so be it. I will do what brings me a modicum of happiness. This does.

We have put in our country vegetable garden for the second year. We’ve also built some raised stone beds to extend our “arable” land. There will be updates and wisdom from all that to impart over the next months.

So, anyway, I hope you can all forgive me for my dereliction of posting. But back to the topic at hand... What did I do with those artichokes?

My last post was Mother’s Day (can you believe it!!) and I was cooking my Mom dinner. I didn’t want to make anything too complex, but at the same time it needed to be special. This recipe did the trick. I found some ground lamb that was on sale. Bonus!

Except for the artichokes, this (nearly) one-pot-wonder was very easy to make. If you can watch a pot simmer you can do this recipe. The flavours were unexpectedly complex. Mint tends to do that.

So if you’re brave enough to tackle artichokes you should try this dinner. It certainly makes enough for four (six in a pinch). If you wish, round out the meal with a salad. Maybe something with tomato wedges, black olives, balsamic vinaigrette and oregano.

I’m writing this early in the morning, and am making myself hungry. Perhaps I should check my cupboards for something for breakfast...

I made the basic sauce at home (with the artichokes) and then took
it over to my mothers, cooked the pasta and heated it through.
Lamb and Artichoke Ragù
Prep: 2 hours (see*)  |  Cook: 1 hour  |  Serves 4-6
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 lg carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pounds ground lamb
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp fresh mint (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tbsp fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 whole lemon, halved
6 tbsp red wine
6 baby artichokes, roasted*
penne for 4-6 people
1 tbsp butter

*The artichokes can be roasted the day before and refrigerated until ready to use. See my last post for easy, detailed instructions.

My mother recently bought a new propane stove.
It's very photogenic.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven. Sauté the onion, carrot and garlic until slightly browned. Add the ground lamb and continue to cook until no longer pink.

Stir in the tomatoes, bay leaves, mint, oregano, salt, pepper, red pepper, and lemon halves. Pour in the red wine. Bring to a simmer and cover.

Let cook for 45 minutes to an hour. If the pot looks too dry (it should have very little liquid) add a little water. Make sure the contents doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot and burn! Remove the bay leaves.

Chop the roasted artichokes into bite-sized pieces. While the sauce is simmering, cook the penne one minute short of al dente. Drain and add to the pot.

Stir in the chopped artichokes and continue to simmer until heated through and some of the liquid has been absorbed into the pasta.

Serve with warm crusty bread.


If you like this post, feel free to share it. All I ask for is credit and a link back to this page.

1 comment:

  1. i was wondering what happened to you! i had just found you and you disappeared! i filled the time reading your entire blog and just finished it a few minutes ago. i am so impressed! now that i am out of old posts of yours, i need new ones!!! i was afraid you had stopped eating. haha!