Artichokes Braised With Fennel, Leeks And Peas
- 4 large artichokes
- Water as needed
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1/4 cup diced shallots
- 2 leeks, white and 1" pale green sliced 1/4"
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 fennel bulbs cut into 1" wedges, joined at root end
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth or water (to 3 cups)
- Salt to taste
- Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
- 6 small boiling potatoes quartered, or lengthwise halved fingerlings
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche - (to 3/4 cup)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup peas or shelled fava beans
- 3 tablespoons chopped fennel greens and/or parsley
Snap off snap off several layers of the tough outer leaves by pulling them downward so that they break off at the base. Stop when the inner leaves become a lighter yellowish green and look tender. Trim the stem and slice off the top third of the artichoke. With a paring knife, smooth the rough areas around the base, removing any dark green parts. Cut the trimmed artichoke into sixths. Remove the fuzzy chokes of mature artichokes with a 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 fraiche 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.
This recipe yields 4 to 6 servings.
Each of 6 servings: 272 calories; 569 mg sodium; 37 mg cholesterol; 12 grams fat; 33 grams carbohydrates; 10 grams protein; 2.64 grams fiber.
Variations: 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.
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