This post is one that is dear and near to my heart. I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with artichokes, but I began eating them at a very young age. They were always a delicacy to me....a treat, something you only had on special occasions or as part of a Sunday dinner. My wonderful mother would simmer the artichokes first. She would then make a yummy Hollandaise sauce. You would peel one leaf off at a time and dip it into the sauce, and pull it through your teeth to scrape off the small amount of deliciousness.
Now that I am all grown up, I decided to go outside the box and try something new for me....stuffed artichokes. It is definitely a lot more work, but boy are they delicious. Even my kids are hooked on them! And the easiest thing about them is there is no measuring involved!
To get the artichokes ready to cook, cut the tips off of all the leaves. Cut the stem as well so they will sit upright. Sprinkle with a little lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown, and simmer in about 1 inch of water for about 20 minutes. You want the artichokes to be fully cooked. Remove them from the water and let them sit while you get your stuffing ready.
This time, my stuffing was very basic. Please feel free to add anything you would like, whether sausage, or crab meat, or other veggies. Just remember that only a small amount will be pressed between each leaf.
In a bowl, combine seasoned bread crumbs, maybe 2 cups (I was a little short, so I used a little Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix to make up the difference) The amount of breadcrumbs depends on how many artichokes you are making. I made three this time. Add in Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic powder, onion (either dried or cooked, it doesn't matter), some olive oil, and chicken broth. You want the stuffing to be moist enough to be pliable, because you will be packing the stuffing in between each leaf.
Once you have finished stuffing the artichokes, drizzle the tops with olive oil, cover with foil, and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. It is a good idea to let them sit once you take them out of the oven, so that they will get as tender as possible.
I could have made a meal out of just the artichokes, but my family needed a bit more, so I grilled some chicken thighs that were seasoned with a combination of cumin, coriander, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper and paprika. You could mix up a batch, maybe a 1/2 tsp of each ingredient, and keep it on hand. It really is delicious.
And what meal would not be complete without a batch of rice pilaf?
Well, I hope that after you taste my stuffed artichokes, you too will become passionate about them!