Artichokes are in season in March and April in Greece and they are the main ingredient in some of the best early spring dishes. There are many different varieties of artichokes in Greece, from large purplish globe artichokes, called the "iodine" variety to classic big green bulb artichokes, to tiny wild Cretan ones with thorns. Greeks make raw artichoke salads, stuffed artichokes, artichoke-filled savory filo pies, and cook artichokes with lamb, goat and seafood. This dish is a classic from the cuisine of the Poli Greeks (those who came from Constantinople--istanbul today). It's a delicious stew, with the classic Greek egg-lemon sauce. But there's a twist: I add saffron to the avgolemono. Artichoke stew a la polita, as this dish is called. are one of countless main course vegetarian recipes. Olive oil is a must, as it is in most Greek cooking. Look for Greek extra virgin olive oil For recipe, press more.
Artichoke Stew with Saffron
2-3 cups cold water
½ cup/120 ml olive oil
2 medium-size white onions, finely chopped
4-6 scallions, chopped
3 medium-size carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch/0,06 cm rounds
4 medium-size potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon saffron threads, diluted in 2 Tbsp./30 ml warm water
½ cup chopped fresh dill
2-3 Tbsp. chopped fresh wild fennel
2-3 tsp. all-purpose flour
1. Have ready a large bowl of 2 cups cold water mixed with the juice of 2 lemons. Cut off all but 1 inch/2,5 cm of artichoke stems, but don't discard. Cut away tough outer leaves and chop off 1 to 1 ½ inches/2,5 to 4 cm from the top of each artichoke. Open flowers and, using a teaspoon or potato peeler, scrape out choke. Cut away tough outer parts of stems leaving only tender white core. If desired, clean leaves away from entire artichoke so that only the heart remains. Rub each artichoke with lemon as soon as you clean it and then submerge it immediately in lemon water to keep it from turning brown. Soak until ready to use.
2. In a large pot, heat olive and sauté onion and scallions until translucent. Add carrots and stir once or twice. Add potatoes and sauté 5 to 7 minutes. Add artichokes with the stems upright, garlic, salt, and pepper and stir. Pour in the saffron and stir gently.
3. Stir flour with strained juice of 1 remaining lemon a little water in a bowl. Pour over the artichokes. Add dill and wild fennel. Pour in enough water to come about half way of the vegetables. Cover pot and simmer over medium heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour until potatoes and carrots are tender and artichokes and stems are cooked. Serve warm drizzled with olive oil and fresh lemon on the side.
This is the Greek Food Channel http://www.dianekochilas.com/
Come to visit Diane and Vassili at their GLORIOUS GREEK KITCHEN COOKING SCHOOL (Ikaria). They run cooking classes and organize culinary tours in Greece for recreational and professional cooks. They also own DV FOOD ARTS CONSULTING, a food marketing company that produces specialty books and other food-and-wine-related literature for a wide variety of clients and independently for the tourist and other markets. Diane consults on Greek cuisine for restaurants, retail outlets and producers of fine Greek foods. Vassilis Stenos (photographer) offers an extensive archive of food and travel photographs of Greece.
Diane Kochilas is an internationally known food writer, cookbook author, culinary teacher, food consultant and food "guru". She has more than 20 years' experience in the Greek kitchen. Diane divides her time between Athens, Ikaria, and New York. She is the consulting chef at Pylos, one of New York's top-rated Greek restaurants, and the new Boukiés, a meze concept. She is also consulting chef at Avli Restaurant in Chicago and Axia in Tenafly, NJ. She writes frequently for the US food press and appears regularly on American television. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, Gourmet, Saveur, Food & Wine, Eating Well and in other food and general-interest publications. In Athens, she is the weekly food columnist and restaurant critic for Ta Nea, the country's largest newspaper. She has written 19 books on Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, including the award-winning The Glorious Foods of Greece. Her books include: The Food and Wine of Greece, The Greek Vegetarian, The Glorious Foods of Greece, Meze, Against the Grain (good carbs), Mediterranean Grilling, Mastiha Cuisine, The Northern Greek Wine Roads Cookbook, and Aegean Cuisine (see below). Her next book, the Country Cooking of Greece, will be out in October 2012 (Chronicle Books).