This plate is a great mixture of Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern cuisines. Levant region has beautiful recipes of artichokes and lamb meat. The artichoke’s creamy texture goes great with the gamey taste of lamb, especially when it is balanced with proper acidity. In the Middle East, Sumac is used to marinade the lamb for that beautiful earthy tartness. In the summer times, I substitute the Sumac with fresh Sour Cherries from farmer’s market to add a little bit of Mediterranean freshness. To top it all using a fresh mint sauce is a great way to finish this lamb dish for balance.
200gr Minced Lamb
1 Onion (Grated)
1 Egg Yolk
1tsp Black pepper
½ tsp Cinnamon
4 Artichoke Hearts
2 Onions (Fine Chopped)
100gr Sour Cherries (Pitted)
½ tsp Salt-Pepper
1 bunch Mint Leaves
3tbsp Olive oil
2tbsp Cider Vinegar
½ tsp Salt-Pepper
1- First we will prepare the meatballs. Mix everything really good with hands until it has a nice consistency to hold itself. Kneading it for a few minutes will create a good texture. Put it in the fridge to rest for 10 mins.
2- Take the lamb mix and divide it to four artichokes. Put the lamb on hearts and shape them to have a beautiful dome fitting to the artichokes.
3- In a steel skillet sweat the onions on the stove. Add the sugar and seasoning. Put half of the sour cherries and mix well. Add the shaped artichokes on the base and pour ½ cup of water to create steam.
4- After the water comes to a gentle boil with a lid closed on, put the skillet to 180C heated oven and cook for 20mins. Check the water level according to your pan and the softness of the hearts. If they got soft, open the lid and mix the onions and cherries to a paste-like consistency. Add the rest of the cherries and roast it all for 10 more minutes to get a good color on 200C.
5- Prepare the easy mint sauce by blanching the mints first. Dry them and chop finely. Mix it with the rest.
Combining all together & Plating:
Take the skillet out of the oven. Plate it by putting the sour cherry paste on the bottom. Place the artichoke on top of it and arrange few whole sour cherries around. Top it with the mint sauce and enjoy this great dish.