Artichokes a la Barigoule (artichokes braised in olive oil)

The first time I ate Artichoke a La Barigoule I was in Chartres visiting a friend and it was she who made it for me.

Sandra was a wonderful cook but definitely ” a pinch of this” and “a handful of that” kind of femme. I have acquired many recipes from her, for example, courgettes stuffed with cheese and Neapolitan style tomato sauce but it always entails watching her cook and rapidly writing everything down because Sandra has everything in her head and she moves fast.

Sadly, I didn’t watch Sandra prepare this dish. How was I to know that I should have been taking notes instead of chatting over a glass of wine? So, after my usual perusal of recipes on the internet and my memories of Sandra’s dish, I came up with a recipe I can share with you. It’s equally good the next day at room temperature. Please picture yourself in a house built of round stones, mortared into a two story cottage. You are seated at a rustic oak table, with your feet on a cool flagstone floor and an oak fire throwing heat into the room. It is September and the fields outside the window are golden. A subtle perfume enters the dining area from bouquets of lavender and thyme that Sandra has bundled and hung from the ceiling. Your plate of Artichoke Barigoule sits in a shallow bowl in front of you with some crusty bread and a glass of the wine you used to braise the artichokes.

Bon Appetit!

Julie

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz small boiling potatoes, mixed color, (little red, Peruvian blues and fingerlings)
  • Two handfuls of short cut carrots or two large carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced small
  • 3/4 lb cooked, uncured, unsmoked ham, (Fra Mani plain or rosemary, Virginia ham or country ham), cut about two inches thick.
  • 8 medium globe artichokes
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and a few peppercorns
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 3T olive oil
  • 2T freshly minced parsley
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • about two cups of water

Instructions:

  1. Peel potatoes and put in water so they don’t turn brown
  2. Cut ham into bite size chunks and set aside.
  3. Trim artichokes down to the hearts, cut in half and place in acidulated water (lemon) as soon as they are cut. I like to use a serrated knife to cut off the tips of the artichoke and a paring knife to cut out the choke and trim the outside of the heart. You can see in the photo below, starting from the top down, the progression of the prepared hearts, the finished one at the bottom. In this instance, larger artichokes are better because you end up with bigger hearts. These were on the small size.
  4. Sauté shallots and celery in olive oil until translucent but not brown.
  5. Deglaze pan with wine and let it reduce to half.
  6. Cut carrots, artichokes and potatoes so they are about the same thickness, so they all cook for the same amount of time. Add Carrots, thyme, bay leaves, artichoke hearts, potatoes, peppercorns and enough water to come about half way up to the veggies.   Season lightly with salt and bring to a simmer. Cover pan and simmer for about 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  7. Place ham in vegetables and heat until warmed through.

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