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Thursday, April 14, 2011

How to Make: Stuffed Artichokes


Artichokes can be an intimidating vegetable.  They're spiky, somewhat resemble a dinosaur, and can have some rather sharp and painful edges if you pick them up the wrong way.  Don't let their unfriendly exterior run you off, because with just a few minutes of effort you can have something truly delicious.  This is one of my family's favorite dishes and I have many memories of seeing these on the table at many family dinners and holidays.  This is one of those dishes that conjures up happy feelings of childhood when I smell it simmering on my stove-top-- that combination of artichoke, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs-- I don't know how to explain it-- its just artichoky.  This tough old vegetable becomes soft and succulent and infused with the taste of the cheese, garlic, and breadcrumbs by simmering it for an hour or so.  Then you put the platter of artichokes on the table and let everyone help themselves and  pull the topping and artichoke meat off with your teeth.  Enjoy this with some good crusty bread to mop up the garlicky breadcrumbs and the delicious gravy in the bottom of the pot. Yum, I guarantee you will like these even if you think you don't like artichokes.

Before you begin you will want to make the stuffing for your artichokes.  You may have to make more of this if you run out as you stuff the artichokes,but if you make too much you can use this mixture as a breading for chicken or shrimp, or a stuffing for mushrooms.  Just put it in a Ziploc bag and keep it in the freezer.

Ingredients for Breadcrumb Stuffing (enough for 3 artichokes):
2 cups plain breadcrumbs
1 cup grated mix of Romano and Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. garlic powder (or less if that is your preference, we like a lot of garlic in our house)
a drizzle of olive oil- don't drench the crumbs, just add a little for flavor.

Combine all in a large bowl.  Use your fingers to toss the ingredients until well combined.

Instructions on How to Prepare and Stuff Artichokes:
1. I usually plan on 1 stuffed artichoke feeding 2 people if this is served as a side. Plan on one per person if this is a main dish.   For this dish you will need a dutch oven or other braising pan, a cutting board, kitchen shears, and a good sharpened chef's knife.

2.  Rinse the artichokes well in cold water, taking care to try to rinse in between the leaves.

3.  Using your kitchen shears, snip off the pointed spiky ends of each leaf all over the artichoke.  Do the same for as many as you're cooking.



4. Using your chef's knife, cut off the stem near the base of the artichoke so that the artichoke will sit flat.  Save the stem.


5.  Use your knife to cut the pointed top off of the artichoke so that the top is also flat.


6. The artichoke should sit flat when you are done, sort of resembling a flower.


7. Take the stems, after you've removed them from the artichokes, and cut off the green pulpy outer exterior. The stem is really flavorful so we are going to cook these along with our stuffed artichokes.  Cut along all sides of the stem, including on either end until you see the pale white underneath.  Set aside.


8. Use your fingers to spread the leaves apart so there will be room for the stuffing.  Do this to both the outer and inner leaves.


It should look like this when you're done:


9. Put the artichoke in the middle of the bowl of breadcrumb stuffing you just made, and start filling in every leaf with the stuffing.  Get every nook and cranny.  More breadcrumbs= more flavor.  Make sure you pack some on the top too!


It should look like this when you're done:


10.  Put your stuffed artichokes in a dutch oven.  Place the stems in the bottom of the pot.  Pour several inches of water in the bottom of the pot and drizzle the tops of the artichokes with a little olive oil.  The drippings from the stuffing and olive oil will simmer and make a delicious gravy that the stems will simmer in.


11.  Bring the artichokes to a boil and then lower to medium low.  Allow to simmer for an 1- 1 1/2 hours or until it is easy to pull the leaves off the artichokes and its easy to pull the meat off the leaf with your teeth.  If this doesn't happen, and the leaves are still tough, that means they aren't done and need to cook a little longer.


Mmmmm, Enjoy!

Hearth and Soul Hop at Sunshine and Smile

16 comments:

  1. Ryan your stuffed artichokes look really tasty. I usually use dried (soaked bread) instead of the breadcrumbs ... will have to give this a try. I agree the stems are one of the best parts of the artichoke.

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  2. What a great tutorial! I've never made artichokes, so this is really helpful!

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  3. Artichokes have always intimidated me a little. Yours look wonderful. Thanks for the recipe!

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  4. I am totally intimidated by artichokes, but I enjoy eating them when someone else fixes them. You make it look so easy, Ryan! Artichokes are always abundant here, so I really should overcome my free and make this.

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  5. I love artichokes. They make me think of when I was little and my family lived in California. My boyfriend is not as keen as I am on the little green veggies, but I bet a little stuffing will change his mind. :)
    I found you through Chef Pandita's delicious link's post and I'm glad I did! This recipe is fabulous! Have a wonderful week.

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  6. That was So helpful Ryan . I really need to buy artichoke and just make it once ..
    www.sunshineandsmile.com

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  7. Great post! My hubby loves artichokes and to be honest I had no clue how to prepare them!

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  8. Beautiful...I tend to avoid artichokes but this has me rethinking that. :)

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  9. I love artichokes, but stuffed artichokes sounds even better!

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  10. These look great! I can't wait to try them!

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  11. Artichokes conjure pleasant memories for me, too. One of my favorite dishes. I still have never made artichokes stuffed and like the combo of ingredients in yours. It's on my list.

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  12. We usually just have artichokes plain with butter, but this will be fantastic, I just know. Can't wait to give it a try.

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  13. hey Ryan.. i am back to say Thanks for sharing this post with hearth and soul hop :)
    www.sunshineandsmile.com

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  14. These are beautiful! Wonderful tutorial for those of us that have never made a dish like this. Thanks for linking with the hearth n soul.

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  15. Thanks for posting this. I've always been skeptical of my ability to cook these. I usually just order them out. Will try!

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  16. Beautiful, Ryan! I don't know how I missed your original post, but am glad you highlighted it so I could find it. I love artichokes and this looks like a great way to prepare them!

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