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SPRING ARTICHOKE RAGOUT WITH HAM AND SHERRY
from "The New Spanish Table" by Anya Von Bremzen

Spring in Spain brings many pleasures, not the least of which is this delicious stew. There are as many versions as there are cooks: Some add peas, other potatoes. The stew can be flavored with the smoky notes of jamon or a touch of pounded fried almonds. In any case, the stew's sweet essence of spring remains the same. Feel free to substitute leeks for the onions and fresh shelled peas and/or sliced asparagus for the fava beans (tender asparagus and peas should be added in the last ten minutes of cooking). You can also use six to eight tender baby artichokes instead of the larger ones. There's no need to pare them; just trim off the stems and the leaf tips. If you use baby artichokes, cook the stew about ten minutes less.

This isn't your bright-green, flash-cooked al dente California version of the Mediterranean. To be really good, sweet, and authentic, the vegetables have to braise for quite some time. What's lost in color is gained in taste. Serve the stew on its own as a first course, as a light lunch, or as a side dish with roast lamb, chicken, or fish.

Serves 4 to 6 as a First Course
 The New Spanish Table
INGREDIENTS (CLICK TO BUY)

1 1/2 cups shelled fresh fava beans (about 1 1/2 pounds unshelled), or 1 1/2 cups soybeans or peas, thawed if frozen
4 medium-size artichokes, pared down to the heart (see Note)
1 lemon, cut in half
5 tablespoons fragrant extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium-size onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 piece (3 to 4 ounces) Serrano ham or prosciutto, finely diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 medium-size Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch lengths
3 to 4 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths
1/3 cup dry sherry
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth, or water
Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)

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PREPARATION

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add the fava beans or soy beans and cook until just tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander and place it under cold running water until cool enough to handle. If using favas, gently peel the skins off the beans. Set the beans aside.
2.Drain the acidulated water from the artichokes and cut each heart crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, including the stems. Rub the slices with the cut side of the lemon halves to prevent discoloring, then set aside.
3.Heat the olive oil in a heavy 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and ham and cook, stirring, until the onion is limp, about 5 minutes. Add half of the garlic and the sliced artichokes and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Partially cover the pan and continue cooking until the artichokes are almost tender, 5 to 7 minutes, adjusting the heat so that the artichokes cook without browning. Add the potato and green beans and cook for 1 minute. Add enough stock to barely cover the vegetables and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer the stew, partially covered, until all the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the beans and cook until tender, about 5 minutes longer.
Note: Preparing Artichoke Hearts
Choose as many artichokes as you need, then cut two lemons in half. Partially fill a bowl of water and add the juice from one of the lemons. Drop the squeezed lemon halves into the water. Working with one artichoke at a time, remove about half of the outer leaves by pulling them away from the artichoke until they snap off. Using a sharp knife cut off and discard the the top half of the artichoke. Place the artichoke on its side on a cutting board and firmly grab onto the stem with one hand. Holding a sharp, serrated knife in the other hand and cutting away from you, remove all but the tender, yellow-green inner leaves, following the contour of the artichoke and leaving only the heart. Using a spoon, scoop out the choke and the small purple leaves from the center. Trim all but a half-inch off the stem. Using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler, trim off the tough, fiberous parts around the base of the artichoke. Scrape the remaining stem with a vegetable peeler. As you work, keep rubbing the cut parts of the artichoke with the cut side of one of the lemon halves to prevent the artichoke from discoloring. Place the artichoke hearts into the lemon water until ready to use.


Buy The Ingredients Make it with Peas
Product nutrition and information
 Quantity Ingredients Est.Price
  Cascadian Farm Organic Edamame Shelled Soy Beans - $2.99/ea
 10oz
 
  Ocean Mist Farms Organic Artichoke - $4.99/ea Save! 2 for $8
 
 
  Lemons - $0.89/ea Save! 5 for $4
 
 
  White Onion, Large - $1.99/lb
 
 
  Leoncini Prosciutto di Parma - $29.99/lb
 0.25 lb
 
  Gold Potatoes - $1.49/lb
 
 
  Snipped Green Beans in Microwavable Bag - $3.99/ea
 approx. 12oz
 
  Roland Sherry Cooking Wine - $2.59/ea
 12.9fl oz
 
  College Inn Fat Free and Lower Sodium Chicken Broth - $1.49/ea
 14.5fl oz
 
  Italian Parsley - $1.29/ea
 approx. 4oz
 
You May Already Have
  Just FreshDirect Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Mediterranean Blend - $10.99/ea
 33.8fl oz
 
  David's Kosher Salt - $3.19/ea
 16oz
 
  Just FreshDirect Tellicherry Peppercorns (Refill) - $4.99/ea
 2.1oz
 
  Peeled Garlic - $4.99/ea
 approx. 8oz
 
Estimated Total:  
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