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Sun Dried Tomato & Smoked Bacon Ragout

1/4 lb smoked bacon
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
4 artichokes
1 Tbsp chopped basil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Splash of lamb stock (if available)
1-2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper

Boil the artichokes in a quart of salted water with splash of vinegar, and aromatics of choice (garlic, bay, peppercorns, coriander seed, etc). When tender, remove the outer leaves and clean the heart; slice the heart into 1/8" strips.

If the tomatoes are in oil, squeeze out excess oil. Heat the tomatoes in a small pan with enough water to almost cover. Cook just long enough to rehydrate. Slice the bacon into 1/8" strips, then again the other way into smaller strips (lardoons) and render in a sauté pan. Stir frequently. Remove when crisp; drain on a paper towel. Reserve.

Combine the bacon and tomato (with liquid) into a sauté pan; add basil, lamb stock, balance seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir in balsamic vinegar. Whisk in a little extra virgin olive oil to taste. Add the artichoke heart pieces. Serve with roast rack of lamb (see 'Rack of Lamb' recipe).

Yield: 2 cups