Recipe: Braised Veal With Artichokes in Egg and Lemon Sauce

Contrary to the mild dish my mother cooked, I add green chilies or plenty of freshly ground pepper to my veal and artichoke avgolemono.

Serves 4

For the main dish:
    • ½ cup olive oil
    • 1½ pounds boneless veal shank (or pork loin) cut into 2 -inch cubes
    • 2½ cups coarsely chopped scallions, white plus most of the green part
    • 1 to 3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped, or, freshly ground black or white pepper, to taste
    • 1 cup white wine
    • 1½ cups chicken or beef stock
    • 8 medium artichokes, peeled and halved (see note)
    • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1½ cups chopped fresh dill
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the egg and lemon sauce (avgolemono)
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
    • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper, or a good pinch Aleppo or Maras pepper, to taste

Prepare the artichokes:
Fill a large bowl with cold water and squeeze the juice of two lemons into it (reserve the lemon halves). Snap off several layers of leaves from each artichoke, pulling them downward to break them off at the base. Rub the cut parts often with the lemon halves as you work, to prevent discoloration. Cut off the top of each artichoke and trim the broken parts of leaves around the stem with a sharp knife, again rubbing the cut surfaces with lemon. Halve the artichokes and remove the center chokes with a knife or grapefruit spoon; drop each prepared artichoke into the bowl of lemon water. Drain just before adding to the pan.

Prepare the main dish:
In a large, deep skillet or a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat and sauté the meat in batches, turning often, until golden on all sides. Add the onions and jalapenos and sauté for two to three minutes more, or until they are soft. Add the wine and as it boils pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the artichokes and a little water if needed—the liquid should almost cover the meat and artichokes . Place an inverted heatproof plate over the meat and artichokes to keep them submerged. Cook uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the artichokes are tender and the meat is fully cooked. With a slotted spoon transfer the meat and artichokes to a platter. If the sauce is too thin increase the heat to high and boil for three to four minutes to reduce. You should have about two to two-and-a -half cups broth.

Make the sauce:
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and two tablespoons water. Dilute the corn starch in the lemon juice and add to the egg mixture. Whisking constantly, pour slowly with a ladle about half the sauce from the pan into the eggs. Slowly return the egg mixture back to the pot with the cooking liquid, whisking constantly, to prevent the eggs from curdling. As the sauce thickens, add the meat and artichokes to the pan, taste and adjust the seasonings with lemon juice, salt and pepper, or pepper flakes. Add the rest of the dill, reserving a tablespoon for serving, and simmer for two minutes more, to warm through. Serve sprinkling with dill and pepper flakes.

To read about Aglaia's first successful crop of artichokes, and to see a slide show of how to prepare them, click here.

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Aglaia Kremezi writes about food in Greek, European, and American magazines, publishes books about Mediterranean cooking in the U.S. and Greece, and teaches cooking classes. More

Aglaia Kremezi has changed her life and her profession many times over. She currently writes about food in Greek, European and American magazines, publishes books about Greek and Mediterranean cooking in the US and in Greece, and teaches cooking to small groups of travelers who visit Kea. Before that she was a journalist and editor, writing about everything, except politics. She has been the editor in chief and the creator of news, women's, and life-style magazines, her last disastrous venture being a "TV guide for thinking people," a contradiction in terms, at least in her country. She studied art, graphic design, and photography at the Polytechnic of Central London. For five years she taught photography to graphic designers while freelancing as a news and fashion photographer for Athenian magazines and newspapers. Editors liked her extended captions more than the pieces the journalists submitted for the events she took pictures for, so she was encouraged to do her own stories, gradually becoming a full time journalist and editor. You can visit her website at www.keartisanal.com.


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