Artichokes and Lamb Noisettes with Potoatoes and Beans

  • Time: 1 hour
  • Serves: 2
  • Level: easy

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.

 

Artichokes and lamb or lamb and artichokes. Whichever, it's a brilliant combination.

What you need

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

1 shallot

2 cloves of garlic

77g (approx.) unsmoked cubed pancetta

500ml chicken stock

100ml wine

Sprig of thyme

1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 bay leaves

Lemon



Dad's Recipe Tales

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.”

How Dad Cooked It

  1. Wash and trim the beans. Peel and wash the potatoes and cut into walnut-sized pieces. Put the potatoes in a pan of cold water, bring to a boil, add a pinch of salt and then cook on low rolling boil for until tender. About 5 minutes before the potoatoes will be cooked add the green beans. Drain and set aside somewhere warm.
  2. Put the stock, wine and herbs in a saucepan, bring to a boil and lower the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes – strain and return to the pan.
  3. Chop the shallot and garlic finely.
  4. Heat a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of light olive oil, the pancetta, chopped shallots and garlic and fry without burning the shallots or garlic, for about 5 minutes. Lift the pancetta, shallots and garlic from the pan with a slotted spoon or strain, reserving the oil which should be returned to the pan.
  5. Add the pancetta, shallots and garlic to the stock and simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Add the beans to the stock and simmer for 5 minutes and take off the heat.
  6. Carefully, fry the the noisettes in the large saucepan so they are coloured on each side (you may need a little more heat). Then put aside cover and keep warm.
  7. Lift half the artichokes from the jar (keeping the liquid in the jar). Cut in half and fry gently in the pan – turning once, until they take a little colour (add a small amount of olive oil if necessary). Lift the artichokes out of the pan set aside and keep warm. NB: the remaining artichokes will keep well in the fridge for a few days.
  8. Next fry the potoatoes in the pan until heated through and they take on a little colour.
  9. Finally add the artichokes, stock and beans to the pan with the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Season to taste.
  10. Season the noisettes and add to the pan. Cook until heated through but still pink inside.
  11. Assemble on a serving dish. Serve with lemon.
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