Artichokes braised with fennel, leeks and peas

Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6
Artichokes braised with fennel, leeks and peas

Trim artichokes according to preparation instructions and cut them into sixths. Remove chokes with paring knife. Set artichokes in bowl with enough water to cover and lemon juice.


Melt butter in wide soup pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and leeks and cook, stirring frequently, without browning, 3 to 4 minutes. Add wine, raise heat and simmer 2 minutes.


Drain artichokes and add them to pot along with fennel and broth. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste, then press a piece of crumbled parchment or wax paper directly over vegetables. Bring to boil, then simmer, covered, until artichokes are tender, about 35 minutes.


Meanwhile steam potatoes until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.


When artichokes and fennel are tender, remove them with slotted spoon to dish. Whisk creme frai^che and mustard into broth and boil briskly to make a thin sauce, 5 to 10 minutes. Add peas, cook over medium heat until tender, 3 to 4 minutes, then return vegetables and potatoes to pot. Add fennel greens and serve.

As the season progresses, take advantage of small market carrots, the last asparagus, the first zucchini or tender new turnips. For the fall artichoke crop, include diced celery root with the artichokes. Cool-weather sorrel, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup per recipe) simmered with the cream and then pureed, adds a bright, lemony bit to the dish.
A bit more of an effort than the artichoke saute, this would be a dish for a spring supper, and it can easily be a vegetarian main dish. I often serve it with steamed spinach, and if fresh fava beans are available, I’ll include some of them too. Serve toasted country bread rubbed lightly with garlic in each bowl. I like to use new red potatoes for this recipe.

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