Slow-Cooked Lamb Sandwiches with Marinated Artichokes
You'll need to prepare the lamb and the artichokes the day before you want to make the sandwiches. You can look for long-stemmed artichokes in specialty markets during artichoke season (March through May), but regular or baby artichokes work just as well.
- FOR THE LAMB
- 2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped(about 1 cup)
- 1 celery stalk, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 cup dry red wine, such as Pinot Noir
- 1 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes with juice (from a 14 1/2-ounce can)
- FOR THE ARTICHOKES
- 1 lemon, halved crosswise
- 6 long-stemmed or regular medium artichokes, or 12 baby artichokes
- 2/3 cup sherry vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/2 small, hot red chile, such as serrano, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
- FOR THE SANDWICHES
- 1 to 2 cups sliced escarole
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 4 ciabatta or rosemary rolls, split
Make the lamb: Preheat oven to 325. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add lamb; cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
Pour off half the oil from pot, and return to heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened and begin to color, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in thyme, allspice, 1 teaspoon salt, the bay leaf, and mint.
Return lamb to pot, and add wine; bring to a simmer, and stir in tomatoes. Turn lamb to coat with sauce, and return to a gentle simmer. Cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until lamb is very tender, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pot on a wire rack. Transfer lamb and sauce to an airtight container, and refrigerate overnight.
Scrape fat from surface of sauce; discard bay leaf. Transfer lamb to a cutting board, reserving sauce; cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices, and shred. Lamb and sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 5 days.
Meanwhile, prepare the artichokes: Squeeze lemon halves into a large bowl of cold water; add halves. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, snap off tough outer leaves until half-green-half-yellow leaves are exposed. Using a chef's knife, cut off dark-green top of artichoke until pale part remains. Using a paring knife, peel the dark-green layer from base and stem; trim bottom part of stem. Scrape out purple leaves and fuzzy choke with a spoon, and discard. Halve artichoke lengthwise. Cut heart into 2 or 3 wedges. Rub artichokes with lemon as you work, and drop into lemon water.
Bring vinegar, salt, and 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add artichoke hearts; bring to a simmer. Cover partially, and reduce heat to medium; cook until tender, about 30 minutes.
Drain; let cool. Cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Put artichoke hearts, garlic, chile, oil, and mint into a nonreactive bowl; toss gently to coat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 day (up to 1 week).
Make the sandwiches: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shredded lamb; cook, without stirring, until browned and sizzling, about 4 minutes. Stir; reduce heat to medium. Stir in about 3/4 cup sauce. Cook until just heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.
Layer escarole, lamb, 3 or 4 artichoke slices, and mint on bottom half of each roll. Sandwich with top halves of rolls.