Lamb and Artichokes Stew is a wonderful dish that’s very typical for spring and Easter time.
It’s a delicious, one-pot meal full of flavors.
Try it once and you’ll be making often, especially when artichokes are in season
Italian Lamb With Artichokes Ingredients
Ideally, you would get the youngest lamb available. It’s super soft, incredibly delicious and as a matter of fact there’s no need to specify the part of the lamb. Small chops of meat, including those with the bone work perfectly well.
Be very careful when cleaning the meat, try to notice and remove most of the little shards of bone or any gritty pieces. With young meat I get these pretty often so pay extra attention.
However if you get a slightly older lamb and have to choose the part, it’s best to get shoulder and/or leg chops. Lamb stew meat will also work.
Whichever cut you get always trim off excess fat. Leave just a reasonable amount since small amount of fat prevent meat from drying and is responsible for that extra flavor.
If you buy meat and notice you’ll have to trim off quite some of it get and extra ½ pound of meat to make sure you have enough for say 4 people after trimming.
I normally use dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes. But you can also use oil-packed.
If tomatoes are small round shape, you’ll need about 10 halves. If they’re large of an elongated shape 8 will be enough.
You can even use 3 to 4 tablespoon of sun-dried tomato pesto, which can be used in many other ways.
Nothing special here, except if you live in Sardinia 🙂
The absolutle best wine to use with any kind of lamb you cook is Vernaccia Di Oristano. It’s a fortified sherry-like wine with amber color, sweet almond and delicate fruity aroma. It’s also one of the most ancient wines in the world.
Interestingly, it’s also one of the most forgotten wines of Italy. But that’s a different story.
So what can you use instead of Vernaccia di Oristano?
- Marsala Vergine
- Cooking Sherry (be careful with salt, since most cooking sherries have added salt to preserve it for longer)
- Port – Ruby Port (white or red) wine is widely used in cooking meat, so I suspect it can be a great alternative for Verncaccia di Oristano.
- White Wine – of course, I encourage you to get a bottle of one of the wine above that will last you for long in cooking, but you can still use any kind of white wine you can on hand.
If you can get fresh artichokes by all means do so.
I’m lucky enough to be ably to get thorny Sardinian artichokes that taste delicious with absolutely everything. I realize very few of you will be able to find this type of artichoke, so baby artichokes will be your next best choice.
Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to clean and trim fresh artichokes.
For this recipe you’ll want to cut them in quarters.
You can also use large size globe artichokes. Trim and clean them as normally and then cut in 8 parts or more if needed.
In case fresh artichokes are not available use frozen artichokes.
Since frozen artichokes are already half cooked through you’ll want to add them when the meat is almost ready. It takes about 5-7 minutes for frozen artichokes to cook.
Fresh artichokes cook in 15 minutes so consider this time when adding them to the stew.
Italian Lamb With Artichokes
- 2 lb lamb leg and/or shoulder chops cut into pieces
- 8-10 sun-dried tomatoes halves cut in thin strips
- ¼ cup white wine (see notes above the recipe card)
- Handful fresh parsley chopped
- Pinch of peperoncino flakes or chili flakes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Hot water
- 8-10 baby artichokes or 4 large globe artichokes
- Salt to taste
- Start by trimming off excess fat from the meat. You don’t want to eliminate all fat complitely but remove most of it to avoid having too greasy dish at the end.
- In a large pan places on medium high heat add a generous splash of extra virgin olive oil and lamb. Let lamb pieces brown nicely on all sides.
- Reduce the heat and add parsley, sun-dried tomatoes cut in thin strips, peperoncino flakes and a generous splash of wine.
- Let simmer for a couple of minutes stirring and tossing everything a couple to time to coat the meat in all the juices.
- Once the wine has almost evaporated, add enough hot water to cover the meat.Bring to a boil and reduce the heat.
- Cover with a lid and let simmer on slow heat for about 40-50 minutes (see notes below).
- Add a pinch of salt. Remember, sun-dried tomatoes already contain salt so taste the sauce the lamb is cooking in to get an idea of how much more salt is needed.
- If using fresh artichokes add them at about 40 minute mark as fresh artichokes take longer to cook.If using frozen artichokes add then just about when the lamb is cooked. It takes just a few minutes to cook frozen artichokes since they’ve been precooked already.
- Add some more hot water if the stew starts to get dry. Just remember that the water should evaporate by the time lamb and artichokes are cooked and create a nice light sauce coating the meat and the artichokes.