Aginares A La Polita is a traditional Greek artichoke stew, that's full of flavor and sweet vegetables.
It is made with potatoes, peas, carrots, onions, Spring garlic (or garlic clove instead), Spring onions, and red onion. All coated in a thick egg-lemon sauce.
This stew is one of the best ways to cook artichokes and a must-make dish during Spring. Especially if you can find fresh vegetables like artichokes, Spring onions, and Spring garlic. These ingredients when they're in season, add such a nice freshness and fragrance to your food. Without this meaning that this stew isn't as good-tasting in the middle of winter, with frozen artichokes and good old classic garlic cloves. It simply alters its profile from a fresh and light stew to a cozier one.
How To Make Greek Artichoke Stew
First, you need to saute the onions and garlic. In this recipe, both red onion and Spring onions are used. Because red onions add to the sweetness of the dish, (plus rumor has it they help thicken a sauce). While Spring onions give that note of freshness that as you may have guessed by now, I'm totally obsessed with. That's why they are added in almost all my latest Spring posts (e.g. Lamb Pie, White Bean Salad, and more coming up soon).
Second, after you have sauteed the onions and garlic until they look nicely caramelized, you add the remaining vegetables, starting from the hardest ones. Meaning, first you add the potatoes and carrots, saute and stir for 1 minute, then the peas, cook for 1 minute more, and lastly the artichokes (do not stir those as they're more delicate).
Pour in enough water to almost cover all of the vegetables in your pot. Bring to a boiling point, and then turn heat to medium and simmer, with the lid partly covering the pot. So there will be space for the steam to escape and the sauce to thicken in the pot.
Depending on the size of the vegetables you will be using (for example small and tender) this stew may take from 40 to 50 minutes to cook. Keep an eye on it after the first 30 minutes of cooking. And prick the vegetables with a knife to make sure they're tender enough. Then you may go ahead and thicken the sauce using egg and lemon. And here is how it is done...
How To Thicken With Egg And Lemon
To make an egg-lemon sauce, you need a hot liquid (in this case the stock that's left in the pot once our stew is cooked and ready), eggs, and lemon. All these have to be combined slowly together. So the eggs get to the same temperature as the hot liquid slowly without curdling.
So once the liquid in the pot has reduced down and thickened, you need to hold the pot towards one side so the thickened liquid that's left in the pot collects there. Then carefully remove the liquid from the pot using a ladle. Try not to take any peas or other veggies along with it. Add it to a bowl or measuring cup. You will need about 300 ml of it to make the egg and lemon sauce. If the liquid in the pot has thickened too much, and you have less than what's needed for making the sauce, then you can add some hot water, or even vegetable stock instead. It just needs to be steamy hot in order to temper the eggs. Add the lemon juice to the liquid as well.
Then in a mixing bowl beat the eggs with a hand whisk. And while you do so, slowly add the hot liquid into the eggs. Starting with small drops, and then continue adding it slowly, threadlike until you have incorporated it all. If you add it too quickly into the eggs, you will end up with tiny omelet bits in your sauce. Mix in the fresh chopped dill and add this egg and lemon sauce back in the pot. And voila! You're all done!
Grab some crusty bread and enjoy!
Greek Artichoke Stew - Aginares A La Polita
- 15 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium-sized red onion minced
- 2 spring onions finely chopped
- 2 spring garlic (or 1 garlic clove) finely chopped
- 4 large potatoes (about 950 grams)
- 5-6 medium-sized carrots (about 350 grams)
- 600 grams / 1 lb + 5 oz green peas fresh or frozen
- 10-12 artichokes fresh or frozen
- 1 stick of celery
- 2 medium-sized eggs
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill
Prepare The Veggies:
- Clean and prepare the artichokes if using fresh. Dipping them in lemon water while you do so, so they won't darken in color. Check out this tutorial if you haven't done this before.
- If using frozen artichokes, leave them in a strainer to unfreeze.
- If using frozen peas place in a strainer also and rinse for 1 minute with cold water under the tap to remove most of the ice.
- Peel the potatoes and carrots and cut both into bite-sized pieces.
Make The Stew:
- Heat the 10 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide cooking pot over high heat. Add the red onion, spring onions, and spring garlic and saute until golden and caramelized.
- Stir in the potatoes and carrots and cook for a minute. Add the peas and cook for a minute more. Then add the artichokes on top without stirring them. Pour enough water to almost cover all of the veggies. If you wish you can use vegetable stock instead. Add the celery stick in as well and the remaining 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Wait until it starts to boil and then reduce the heat to medium and put the lid on to partly cover the pot. Simmer for about 40 to 50 minutes. If you need to stir the stew while cooking, simply shake the pot or use two forks or spoons to gently flip the top vegetables if needed. Avoid stirring with a spoon so the artichokes won't get smashed or the peas become mushy.
- Prick the harder vegetables (potatoes, carrots) with a knife to check if they're tender enough. Then turn the heat off. Gently turn the cooking pot towards one side and using a ladle remove the liquid collecting at the side of the pot. Place in a measuring cup or small bowl. You need 300 ml of it in order to make the egg-lemon sauce. If you have less, simply add some hot vegetable stock or hot water instead. Add the lemon juice to the measuring cup or bowl as well.
- In a mixing bowl add the eggs and beat with a hand whisk. Then start to add the hot liquid and lemon juice mixture into the eggs while you whisk the eggs constantly. Begin incorporating small drops and then continue adding the liquid threadlike. The point here is to warm up the eggs and combine them with the hot liquid slowly, so they won't curdle.
- Once you have incorporated all of the liquid into the eggs, stir in the dill and add this sauce back to the pot. Shake the pot for the sauce to spread all over. Then put the lid on and let the stew set inside the pot, on the hot stove with the heat turned off. This way the sauce will thicken even more.
- Serve with plenty of freshly ground pepper on top.
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