September 23, 2021 —
This dish was inpired by Antonio Carluccio from his book, An Invitation to Italian Cooking. The photo of the dish was perhaps my most impressioable image throughout my cooking life, mainly because it featured favourtie foods; artichokes and lamb noisettes. The noisettes are not a common cut of meat but are exquisitely tender being essentially a rolled-up tenderloin. In fact, I have never made the recipe as per this cookbook – but the combination of lamb and artichokes has stuck – which is why I have been working on a series with these two ingredients.
My version (see story below!) is adapted to include some Greek influences. In Greek cooking, they like to bake artichokes and potoatoes together, they like to stew lamb and artichokes together, and they stew lamb with green beans. Robin Howe says in her Greek Cooking cookbook, that the stewed green beans are not bright green, as favoured by the British palate, but rather a duller colour, however, they are covered in sauce and prefered by Greeks for their full flavour.
I have not used fresh small violetta artichokes, as for one reason or another, they are not in the shops. They would work very well in this recipe – just trim and prepare them and braise in oil and water before using. The artichokes I have used are the Navarrico brand. They make excellent jars of all kinds of pulses and vegetables. In appearance, their artichokes are very similar to tinned artichokes, but of a superior and more delicate taste (and without the metallic tang). Although they are delicate and fragile, they complement the tender lamb perfectly.
I have tried to adapt this recipe using the hob and the oven – but it gets too complicated – and besides, there is an obvious clue to the correct style of cooking in the cut of lamb – noisettes, are the lamb equivalent of a beef fillet steak and need very careful cooking. Therefore, it is cooked in stages on the hob to give respect to the refined ingredients, but still has the qualities of a Greek savoury bake.
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450g lamb noisettes – buy as noisettes or ask a butcher to make a noisettes from a rolled joint prepared from a saddle of lamb.
450g waxy potatoes such as Charlotte
200g drained artichokes from 1 x 600g (400g drained) jar of Navarrico artichokes or similar
100g green beans
2 cloves of garlic
77g (approx.) unsmoked cubed pancetta
500ml chicken stock
Sprig of thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
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The cook, the chef, and psychologist
One day a cook cooked an amazing meal for a chef.
“Gosh,” exclaimed the chef, “this is very good, can I have the recipe?”
The cook flattered by the compliment happily agreed and transcribed the recipe very accurately. Sometime later, the cook visited the chef’s restaurant and ordered the same dish that they had cooked for the chef.
“Gosh,” exclaimed the cook, “this is nothing like my recipe – the chef has changed everything!”
“Ah,” said the psychologist (who was sharing the meal with the cook), “when it comes to food most people think they know better. They want to do things their own way. This is why your recipe is different, the chef wants to make it his own. Indeed, if he wanted to call it his own, he would be wise to make a few changes…”
The chef, the cook, and the psychologist
One day a chef cooked an amazing meal for a cook.
“Gosh,” exclaimed the cook, “this is very good, can I have the recipe?” The chef was reluctant to give away the secrets of a dish he had worked very hard to develop but could see that the cook appreciated the quality of the recipe, and so agreed.
Sometime later the cook, made the recipe for a psychologist. The psychologist knew of the recipe having enjoyed it at the chef’s restaurant.
“Gosh,” exclaimed the psychologist, “this is exactly the same as the chef’s recipe!”
“Yes,” replied the cook, “I followed the recipe precisely.”
“That’s interesting,” said the psychologist, “there are those that want to make every recipe their own – and there are those who want to follow a recipe to the letter.”
The psychologist paused to consider the paradox. “Perhaps we can divide people who cook into groups. One group believes they can cook as well as anybody and want to make recipes their own, and another who can cook, but either lacks confidence or reveres the knowledge and culinary wisdom of an affirmed cooking expert and prefers to replicate the recipe precisely.”
“Ah,” said the cook, “so, everybody must cook; some observe the sanctity of recipes others do not. Whatever, group you are in – you still start with a recipe. Perhaps this is why the food industry, media and online communities are burgeoning with recipes and food ideas.”
A perfect winter warmer – Cassoulet!
Try Dad’s loaded low-fat salsa quesadillas with The Laughing Cow Lightest x8 cheese.
An excellent way to turn a popular Italian slow food standard into an easy and quicker family classic.
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