Spring Ragout of Artichoke Hearts, Fava Beans, Peas and Baby Turnips
A ragout is basically a well-seasoned stew. This one takes its flavor from the tarragon, which brings out the best in the array of seasonal vegetables.
8 cloves garlic, whole and unpeeled
2 pounds fresh fava beans in pods, shelled
4 T. nonhydrogenated margarine (divided)
4 trimmed and cooked artichoke hearts, halved or quartered, depending on size (see note)
12 baby turnips, peeled
1 cup vegetable broth
1 pound English peas in pods, shelled (or 1 cup frozen, thawed)
2 tsp. coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
1 T. finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Put the garlic in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring slowly to a boil over low-medium heat, then drain. Slip the skins off each clove and set aside in a bowl. Refill the saucepan with water and return to a boil over high heat. Drop the fava beans into the boiling water for 1 minute. Immediately drain in a colander and transfer to a bowl of ice-cold water. Then peel the beans. Reserve until needed. Melt half of the margarine in a sautÃ© pan over a medium heat. Once it starts to froth, add the artichoke pieces, turnips and peeled garlic, and sautÃ© until the artichoke pieces become flecked with golden-brown color. Add the vegetable broth and peas, then cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover, scatter with the beans and herbs, and shake gently to mix; there should be very little liquid remaining in the pan. If it still looks too wet, increase the heat to high and continue to shake the pan. Add the reserved margarine to form a small amount of sauce. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and freshly ground pepper as needed. Serve at once.
Note: To prepare artichoke hearts, cut off and discard all but 1 inch of the stem. Peel remaining stem, rubbing cut artichoke flesh with lemon to avoid discoloring. Remove tough outer leaves (discard, or reserve for steaming and eating separately) until you get to the tender, slightly yellow leaves. Pull off the soft leaves to reveal the fuzzy choke. Using a spoon, scoop out the choke and discard, rubbing exposed flesh with more lemon. Use a paring knife to cut off any tough, dark green parts clinging to the outside of the heart. In a stainless steel or enamel-coated cast-iron Dutch oven filled with a couple of inches of water and lined with a steamer insert, steam artichoke hearts until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.