10 Artichokes, cleaned, down to heart/bottom, stems aside
One lemon, peeled and cut in half, reserve peel
1/4 cup olive oil
1.5 medium onions sliced into rings
3 carrots, peeled and sliced thin on the bias
2 celery stalks, sliced thin on the bias
Herbs, your choice: Today two dried stems of sage, two dried branches of winter savory, 1 tsp thyme
Salt to taste
1 tsp of whole black pepper
2 ample cups white wine
2 ample cups water
Cleaning an artichoke: Don't get discouraged, it is work. The first one will take you about 5 minutes after that you will take 2 minutes tops per artichoke. Before you start, squeeze the lemon halves into a bowl of fresh cold water, leaving the halves in the water once juiced. First take 1/4" off the stem and peel the fibrous threads off the stem. Next with your hands peel away the baby leaves along the base of the artichoke. Using a sharp knife cut the top half of the artichoke off. Discard leaves. This next part I do with my hands, I find it easier, but feel free to cut through with a knife…I peel away all the outer green leaves and discard. Grasp the pale yellow leaves of the heart in a tight pinch and twist out. You should now see the fuzzy "choke". With a melon baller or a pairing knife remove, just the fuzz.
Once your artichokes are cleaned and soaking; Place the oil in a wide round or oval pan/pot. I have a 4 quart braiser that works beautifully for this. You want something large enough that the artichokes will lie in one layer. Into the oil add the onions, carrots and celery, sweat over med heat. You want the vegetables to soften, not to brown. This will take 10 to 20 minutes depending on your heat.
Add the herbs, salt and pepper, and toss with the vegetables. Check your lemon peel for pith (the white, bitter part of the lemon) Scrape away any excess pith and add the lemon peel to the braising vegetables. This would be a good place to substitute preserved lemons(mine weren't ready).
Pull the artichokes out of their cold water bath and cut off the stem, just leave about 1/4" attached to the heart. Place the artichokes in one single layer over the braising vegetables. Add wine and water to the pot. Snug the artichoke stems into the gaps between the hearts. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit snugly inside the pot, rub with a little olive oil and place oil side down directly onto the artichokes. Bring to a boil then lower to barely a simmer. Cook for 35 minutes then turn over for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, depending on size of artichokes. Test for doneness with a knife. Artichoke when pierced should fall back off knife easily.