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Aginares Avgolemono (Artichokes in Greek Lemon Sauce)

Time1 hour 15 minutes
YieldsServes 4 to 6
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Although it’s better known as a soup, avgolemono, the familiar Greek mixture of chicken broth, egg yolks and lemon juice, is also often used as a sauce. This quick vegetable braise of artichoke bottoms, carrots and potatoes, perfect for the season, is finished with a dill-enlivened avgolemono sauce. Made without the traditional chicken stock, it’s a great vegetarian main dish served with Greek olives, feta cheese and a rustic bread, or as a side with grilled fish or lamb.

It’s easy to make, but a couple of tricks are worth remembering. Don’t stir the vegetables while braising. Instead, pick up the pan once in awhile and gently shake it. This will keep the vegetables from sticking, but prevent them from being broken into too-small pieces.

To prevent curdling, temper the egg-lemon mixture by adding a bit of the vegetable broth before pouring the sauce into the pan; keep the heat low so the sauce doesn’t boil.

Let the dish stand so the flavors develop, and serve, Greek fashion, at room temperature.

1

Remove the leaves from the artichokes, then scoop out the choke leaving the bottoms. Discard the leaves. Cut the bottoms in half. Put them in cold water with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice until ready to use, then drain and pat dry.

2

Pour the olive oil into a 6-quart saucepan. Saute the onions until soft, about 4 minutes. Add potatoes and carrots; cook about 5 minutes.

3

Add the artichokes, 4 1/2 cups hot water, the dill and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat; then simmer until the potatoes, carrots and artichokes are fork-tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Do not stir, but occasionally lift and swivel the pan back and forth to move the mixture and keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan, being careful not to break the vegetables. Reduce the heat to a low simmer while preparing the avgolemono sauce.

4

To make the avgolemono sauce, beat the eggs well for about half a minute in a small bowl with a fork or wire whisk, then slowly add the remaining lemon juice. Add the dissolved cornstarch and then slowly add about a cup of broth from the cooked mixture. Pour the avgolemono sauce slowly over the vegetables and cook over a low flame for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

From Cosmas Kapantzos.