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Daube d'agneau aux artichauts (Lamb daube with green olives, white wine and baby artichokes)

Time Total time: 3 to 3 1/2 hours, plus 1 to 2 days marinating
Yields Serves 6 to 8
Daube d’agneau aux artichauts (Lamb daube with green olives, white wine and baby artichokes)
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Bouquet garni

1

Tie the ingredients in a piece of cheesecloth and set aside.

Daube

1

Trim the meat, leaving bones and a little fat; cut the shoulder in 1 1/2 -inch pieces. Pack the lamb in a large (5 1/2 quart), heavy, ovenproof casserole with the onions on top, and pour the wine over.

2

Pound the bouquet garni with a rolling pin to crush the spices. Push the bag down into the pieces of lamb and spoon over the olive oil. Cover and refrigerate at least a day and up to 2 days.

3

When ready to cook, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the daube from the refrigerator while oven is heating up. Sprinkle the lamb with the garlic, tomatoes, and thyme. Stir 2 teaspoons salt and one-half teaspoon white pepper into the veal or beef broth and pour over the top. Cover and cook in the oven until the broth is almost simmering, about 45 minutes.

4

Reduce the heat to 300 degrees, stir in the olives and continue cooking the lamb, stirring occasionally, until it is nearly tender, about 45 minutes longer.

5

Meanwhile, add the lemon juice to a bowl of cold water. Trim each artichoke head, cutting crosswise about halfway down to remove tough tips. Snap off tough outer leaves and trim any remaining tough leaf tips. Trim the cut end of the stems, leaving 1 to 2 inches. Peel the stems with a vegetable peeler or small knife. Halve the artichokes lengthwise (quarter them if large) and scoop out any hairy central choke with a melon baller. Immerse the artichokes in the lemon water so they do not discolor.

6

When the lamb is nearly tender, drain the artichokes and stir them into the casserole, adding more broth if needed to half cover them. Simmer until the lamb meat is falling from the bones and the artichokes are very tender when you poke them with a fork, 30 to 40 minutes.

7

Remove the daube from the oven, let bubbles subside, and skim off excess fat. To make a beurre manie, combine the butter and flour in a small bowl and refrigerate. Remove and discard bouquet garni. Ladle as much of the broth as possible into a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Cook about 20 minutes, until the flavor is concentrated and the liquid reduced by half to about 3 cups. Add the butter-flour mixture a small pea-size piece at a time and whisk in. Bring the broth back to a boil for a few minutes. Pour it back into the daube, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Daube keeps well in the refrigerator up to 3 days, and can be frozen.

8

To serve, reheat the daube, if necessary, in the casserole in a 350-degree oven, allowing at least an hour and probably more for heat to penetrate to the center. Stir in the parsley and check the seasoning again. At the table, ladle the daube into shallow pasta bowls; pass lemon wedges on the side.

The best cut of lamb for daube is shoulder; include some riblets, too, so the bones enrich the sauce.

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