Cooking this fabulous, subtle stew with bone-in lamb adds more flavor to the dish
4 pounds lamb shoulder, bone-in, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons Greek olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 celery stalks with leaves, cut into coarse chunks
1 carrot, sliced
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
2 cups water
cheesecloth bag containing 8 peppercorns, 8 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf, 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 cup orzo
5 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup snipped fresh dill
1. Place the lamb in a Dutch oven over high heat and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, removing any froth that floats to the surface, for 5 minutes. Drain and reserve lamb.
2. Return the empty Dutch oven to the stove over moderate heat. Add the olive oil, then add the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add stock, water, cheesecloth bag, and reserved lamb chunks. Season to taste with salt. Increase heat to high, bring liquid to a boil, and then reduce heat. Let stew simmer, partially covered, for 1 1/2 hours.
3. Cut off part of the stem of each artichoke, leaving about 1/2 inch of stem on each one. Remove the outer leaves from each artichoke until you can see the bulge of the artichoke bottom defined through the remaining leaves. Quarter each artichoke lengthwise (this will expose the hairy chokes). Working with a small, sharp knife, cut out as much of the chokes as possible. While working, rub all cut surfaces with lemon juice.
4. When lamb is done cooking, transfer it to a bowl, and strain cooking liquid. Return lamb and strained cooking liquid to Dutch oven, bring liquid to a boil, and add artichokes. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Add orzo and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes.
5. In a bowl whisk eggs well until light in color. Whisk in lemon juice and 1 cup of hot cooking liquid, a little at a time. Remove Dutch oven from heat, and stir in heavy cream, then slowly stir in egg mixture. Return Dutch oven to low heat, and cook until stew is slightly thickened. (Do not allow stew to boil.) Just before serving, stir in fresh dill. Taste for seasoning and serve.
Cooking this fabulous, subtle stew with bone-in lamb adds more flavor to the dish. Encourage your guests to pick up the bony lamb chunks with their fingers, and to drink lots of retsina. Serves 6