Braised Lamb-Stuffed Artichoke Hearts

Use fresh artichokes or frozen artichokes, which are readily available at Middle Eastern markets; in either case, the reward is worth the effort with this unique, show-stopping dish blessed with exquisite flavor from the lamb, artichoke, baharat and slowly reduced braising liquid.


stuffed artichokes photo by christine han.jpg


For the braising sauce:

3 tablespoons olive oil

10 whole garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 (2-inch) piece fresh turmeric, peeled and finely grated on a microplane or 1 teaspoon dry turmeric 

1/2 bunch cilantro (stems and leaves), finely chopped

11/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon Preserved Lemon Paste

Make the braising sauce: In a large, shallow skillet with a lid, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil with the garlic, turmeric, cilantro, salt, and lemon juice, and cook for 2 minutes on low heat, uncovered.
Add 3 cups water, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to very low, cover, and keep warm.



For the artichoke filling:

12 ounces ground lamb (you can replace with ground beef or do 50-50)

1 small yellow onion, peeled and grated

1/2 boiled russet potato, grated

1 egg, beaten

2 teaspoons Baharat

1/2 teaspoon salt

16 artichokes cleaned into hearts only (leaves, fuzzy choke, and stems removed and discarded) or 2 (14-ounce) bags of frozen hearts

Make the artichoke filling: In a bowl, mix together all of the filling ingredients. Stuff the artichoke hearts with 1 to 11/2 tablespoons filling, depending on the size of the heart. (Make meatballs with any leftover filling.) 

For the frying:

1 cup chickpea flour
2 eggs, whisked with a touch of salt
Canola oil 

Fry the artichokes: Place the chickpea flour in a shallow bowl. Place the beaten eggs in another shallow bowl. Heat a large skillet with 1/2 inch oil over medium heat. Dip each stuffed heart (and any meatballs) in the flour, gently dust off excess flour, dip it in egg, and immediately fry on both sides until golden, about 45 seconds per side. Place the fried artichokes, meat side up, in the skillet of braising sauce. When all the fried artichokes are in the skillet, cover and simmer for 60 minutes or until the artichokes are very soft. Serve with the reduced braising sauce.