Recipe: Artichoke, egg and pine nuts

This recipe comes from the same book we used last time – Las Recetas de las Abuelas (The Recipes of Grandmothers) by Alfonso Lopez Alonso. This book is mostly soup recipes so this recipe is a bit soupy/stew-y (wet). Still it’s got incredible flavors we have never had before.

There are so many strange things about the stew that make it so good. There isn’t any broth added, instead you simmer jamon (prosciutto or serrano ham) to give you all the salt and flavor. Then you take hard boiled eggs (what?! Yes.) and simmer them in the stew as well. The yolks incorporate in the stew and give it a creamy rich flavor. The whites of the eggs, the vegetables and the pine nuts give the stew so many different textures.  If that’s not enough there’s white wine in it so that adds a bit of sweetness that balances the salty jamon out. It’s really got something for everyone. It’s a cacophony of flavors and textures that we found quite addictive.

Albeit un-photogenic. Don’t judge the recipe on this terrible photo.

In our wine post we talked about how they really don’t cook with wine here. So we were pleased as punch to see this recipe called for white wine.

Some notes:

Artichoke: this calls for artichokes which you dissect and cook the good bits. Obviously you can substitute 1 can of artichoke hearts. Interestingly we also made it another day with just veggies we had on hand -carrots, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, potatoes, peas and it was just as good. Really any veggies will work.

Ingredients

  • 8 artichokes (we were cooking for two so we reduced it to 4 but left everything the same). OR  1 can artichoke hearts OR your favorite vegetables
  • 1 onion
  • 1 “tooth” of garlic. Spain calls them teeth rather than cloves and I love that.
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 eggs (hard boiled)
  • 1 tablespoon of pine nuts
  • 2-3 slices of smoked ham – prosciutto, serrano, parma, speck. Any cured, salty ham.
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • Olive oil
  •  (only if using fresh artichokes)Lemon juice or vinegar

Pre-Make

Hard boil your eggs. Since you’re making only 2 you might as well make some more and have a sandwich or snack later (or have the dish again).

Toast your pine nuts. Without any oil just put your pine nuts over heat and stir occasionally to get them toasted. Set aside. (Tip: You could easily do this in the same pot you will be using later).

Cut up your artichokes. This one is a bit weird. Slice off the stem and work around it cutting off all the exterior leaves to get to the heart (then divide into 4-8 slices). If you think this is wasteful realize that when you eat artichoke you only eat the last centimeter at the bottom so you’re really not losing any “food” here. If you feel that bad about it, prepare your artichokes, feast on their flesh but keep the hearts. If you live in a country that loves convenience and canned stuff skip all this nonsense and buy a can of artichoke hearts. Strain and rinse all the weird can flavor off.

Artichokes (like apples) will brown. If you are preparing them fresh put them in a bowl of lemony (or vinegary) water to keep them from getting gross looking.

Make the stew

  1. Chop up your onion and garlic
  2. In a stew pot put as much oil as you want to fry your onions up. In Spain this means about 3 tablespoons but we recognize Americans would never do this. Use as much as you feel you need/want.
  3. Saute the onions until translucent
  4.  Slice or rip your ham into small-medium sized pieces.
  5. Add to the onions
  6. Saute for about 4 minutes more. The book really wants you to know it’s not possible to overcook the jamon so don’t worry.
  7. Add the toasted pine nuts
  8. Sprinkle the tablespoon of flour over the mix and stir well to incorporate on everything. If its going to burn to the bottom temporarily remove from heat. You want the flour to thicken the sauce a little -not stick to the bottom of the pan (although if it does stick you can just turn it into a reduction with the white wine later)
  9. Drain the artichokes from their can or lemon/vinegar mix then add.
  10. Add the white wine. Simmer for 3-4 minutes (perhaps take this time to do the next step)
  11. Peel and chop up your hard boiled eggs. Add them to the stew.
  12. Add the water and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes at a medium heat.

Serve with a toasted piece of bread (and, yeah, probably the rest of your white wine).

It doesn’t look good because artichokes are gross-green color but the flavor is fantastic.

With more hard boiled eggs we made it the next day with potatoes, carrots and broccoli (the only veggies we had on hand). Still great.

As long as you use white wine, smoked ham, pinion nuts and hard boiled eggs as a base you can adapt this for really anything. We had very little smoked ham the second day so we used a chicken broth and it still tasted great.


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