Arichokes Stewed with Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Mint

What did I learn from this? It’s better the second day, like many stews. It’s astonishing how much the flavor of potatoes changes in 24 hours. This was only passable on the first day, but on the second it was enjoyable. This originally called for fresh baby artichokes, and you can get those in California (or at least in my Whole Foods you can) but I know that nobody but me would ever even bother with them in their raw state. I used canned artichoke hearts in this, which changes the dish somewhat, but it’s still good.

1/4 c. olive oil (hey, the original calls for 1/2 c.)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 bunch (8 –10) scallions, trimmed and cut into thin rounds, including as much of the green as possible
8 artichoke hearts
8 – 12 small red potatoes, washed and halved
1 c. peeled, chopped plum tomatoes (canned is fine, says the original recipe – that’s what I did)
1 bay leaf
2/3 c. packed, chopped fresh dill
1/2 c. packed chopped fresh mint leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
strained fresh juice of 1/2 a lemon

Heat the olive oil in a large stewing pot and sauté the garlic and scallions over medium heat for a few minutes, until soft. Add the artichokes and the potatoes (if using hearts you may want to add them later so they disintegrate less) to the pot, toss gently with a wooden spoon to coat with oil, lower the heat, and cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, and enough water to barely cover the vegetables. Season with salt and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. About halfway through cooking, add the herbs. Just before removing from heat, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and add a little lemon juice, if desired.

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