Known in Turkish as şev-ke-ti bos-tan, blessed (milk) thistle is a back-breaking endeavor to harvest because of the way they cling to the surrounding soil and rocks, hence it fetches a high price per kilo.
The traditional Bodrum recipe involves removing the thorns and washing the thistles thoroughly. Gently sautee lamb cubes in olive oil until just golden and then add a chopped onion and minced garlic. Cover with water and simmer until the meat is cooked thoroughly. (It adds color to throw in some carrots and potatoes too.) Add the chopped up thistle roots and greens and simmer gently until the root portion of the thistle is tender.
The trick to a thick, creamy stew is to then beat one egg with a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, gradually incorporate some of the cooking juice into the egg lemon mixture until it is warmed, and then reintroduce this mixture back into the main pan slowly while stirring over very low heat. With its liver cleansing properties, the milk thistle should cancel out the any damage from the raki accompaniment.
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