2 medium (600g) eggplants
½ cup (125ml) olive oil
3 medium (600g) artichokes
1/3 cup (80ml) lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon rosemary leaves
1kg boned lamb shoulder, cut into 5cm pieces
2 tablespoons plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (250ml) tomato sauce (home-made or quality Italian tomato cooking sauce)
½ cup (125ml) dry white wine
1 cup (250ml) veal stock or beef consommé
NOTE: This recipe is best made a day ahead; reheat gently before serving
Preheat oven to moderately hot (200°C/180°C fan-forced). Place whole eggplants on an oven tray, brush with a little of the olive oil and roast in a moderately hot oven for about 20 minutes or until partially softened. Remove to a plate and cool. Lower oven to moderately slow (160°C/140°C fan-forced).
Meanwhile, trim artichoke stems and remove tough outer leaves. Quarter artichokes lengthways, remove the hairy choke. Place prepared artichokes immediately into a bowl of cold water with the lemon juice.
Chop the garlic and rosemary leaves together until fine.
Toss the lamb in flour seasoned with salt and pepper; shake away excess flour. Heat 1/3 cup (80ml) of the oil in a large pan; add the lamb in batches, cook over a high heat until browned all over. Remove from pan.
Heat the remaining oil in the eventual cooking pot (enamelled cast-iron is ideal), add the well-dried artichokes; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the garlic and rosemary mixture; cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add the tomato sauce and wine; bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the lamb and its juices to the pan. Split the cooled eggplant and scoop out the pulp; chop coarsely. Add to the pan with the stock.
Cover mixture with a sheet of baking paper then lid; bake in a moderately slow oven for about 1 hour or until the lamb is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve lamb with grilled polenta, baked gnocchi or roughly crushed potatoes mixed with plenty of butter and parsley, if desired.