Stuffed artichokes are an all-time favorite for many people, but many never think of making them at home. They leave it for grandma or a fancy restaurant to make it for them. My favorite stuffed artichoke recipe is something anyone can make. So artichoke fans, this is your chance to impress the cooks in your family and quite possibly outdo your favorite restaurant's version of stuffed artichokes. Springtime brings with it a wonderful variety of artichokes. I personally enjoy using long-stemmed globe artichokes for my recipe.
Here is a cooking tip, the stem is delicious and edible, just peel the tough outer layer with a vegetable peeler; they can be chopped up and used in the stuffing as well. Also, try cutting them into thin slices to create a nice very tasty side dish. Steam the sliced stems with the whole artichokes, as directed in this recipe. Once the stems are al dente ( 5-7 minutes), I like to toss them with a sauté of onion, garlic and spring peas. Sprinkle all with a little of the leftover breadcrumb mixture from stuffing the artichokes, season with freshly cracked black pepper and coarse salt. Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and, PRESTO, you have a stupendous and very special side dish to share with your family and friends.
Making stuffed artichokes really isn't much more difficult. The biggest challenge is the trimming of the outer leaves. These leaves will have very small needles type points at the top. Simply use kitchen scissors to snip them off. (If you want to be a little more cautious, use a pair of kitchen gloves while preforming this process.) Once you've completed this process, you're well on your way to enjoying one absolutely delicious artichoke.
My Favorite Stuffed Artichoke Recipe
- 2 large, washed and dried artichokes ( I use Globe artichokes)
- 1 lemon halved
- 2 strips lemon zest (pith removed), finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 cups plain breadcrumbs
- 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 bunches flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh oregano, coarsely chopped
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup of cleaned and finely chopped artichoke stem (optional)
- 2-3 cups of vegetable stock or water, lightly seasoned
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Handle the artichokes with care. Mind the small needle-like points at the end of the leaves.
- You may feel more comfortable using kitchen gloves during these steps.
- Rinse the artichokes under cold running water and pat them dry.
- Cut 1 inch off the top of the artichoke and then cut off the stem end to create a flat base.
- Scrape any green areas off the cut base.
- This can have a bitter taste so it is best to remove at this stage.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel away the tough outer layer of the stalk.
- Cut the stalk into quarter-inch slices lengthwise and then dice a 1/2 cup amount.
- Squeeze some lemon juice over it and reserve for the stuffing.
- Now, remove the tough first two bottom rows of leaves by simple pulling them off.
- Rub all cut areas with the halved lemon.
- Using kitchen sheers snip off the spiny ends from each leaf. Rub all with lemon.
- Next, carefully pull open the artichoke to expose the leaves in the center and repeat the snipping process.
- If you want to remove the center entirely and clean all the way down to the artichoke heart you can but it's optional.
- To do this use a melon ball scoop (Parisian scoop) or a teaspoon.
- At this point you can reserve your cleaned artichokes in a bowl of lemon water , cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to stuff.
Cleaning the artichoke core
Tip 1: I use a grapefruit spoon to remove the center of the artichoke and it works great. But again this step is entirely up to you. It is a step worth taking especially if you are serving the artichokes to children. My rule of thumb at home is- I clean out the centers for the children and leave it alone for the adults.
Tip 2: To open up the leaves to make it easier to stuff after steaming, place the artichoke on a flat surface upside down (the bottom facing you) and gently push down. Do this once or twice until you feel the artichoke give a little. Then turn it around and using your hands and thumbs to wiggle the petals open a little more. This will make stuffing them much easier.
To make the stuffing
1) Procedure: Toasting the breadcrumbs
- Place a sauté pan over moderate heat and add a few tablespoons of olive oil.
- Add the onion, garlic and the drained and dried artichoke stems and gently sauté 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in the breadcrumbs and toss all ingredients together.
- Stir constantly while the breadcrumbs toast slightly.
- Control the heat! You want lightly toasted breadcrumbs nothing more.
- This should take under 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and put the breadcrumb mixture in a bowl.
- Once cooled, add the parsley, oregano, lemon zest and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Mix together well and moisten slightly with a little olive oil, if needed.
- The stuffing should hold together when squeezed together in the palm of your hand, but fall apart easily when touched.
- You will baste the artichokes as they cook, so the initial breadcrumb mix does not need to be extremely moist.
2) Steaming the artichokes
- Fill a steamer pot (or large pot) with the vegetable stock or water.
- If using plain water, add a pinch or two of salt, cover and bring to a boil.
- Then reduce to a simmer and add the cleaned and trimmed artichokes.
- Also, place in the artichoke stems if using.
- Cover all and let steam for 20-25 minutes.
- A good indication for doneness is when a lower leaf can be pulled away from the artichoke fairly easily.
- Now remove the artichokes from your steamer or pot and let cool.
- Reserve 1-2 cups of the liquid for basting the artichokes during the baking process.
- Once cool enough to handle you are ready to stuff the artichokes.
- This is the FUN part!
3) Stuffing the artichokes
- Place the artichokes on a plate.
- This will help catch any breadcrumbs from falling out and creating a mess on your work area.
- Using a tablespoon or teaspoon (whichever you are most comfortable with), add a generous amount of stuffing behind each leaf.
- Now fill the center of the artichoke with breadcrumbs.
- Sprinkle the tops with some grated Parmesan cheese.
- Drizzle some olive oil over them and set aside until ready to bake.
- 4) Baking the artichokes:
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Add about 1/2 cup of vegetable stock or water to the bottom of a baking dish, just enough to slightly cover a quarter-inch or so of the bottom of the artichoke.
- Pour 2 tablespoons of the remaining steaming liquid over each artichoke to moisten them slightly and then bake for 5 minute.
- Repeat process one more time after 6-7 minutes.
- Make sure to slightly moisten the entire artichoke, but not too much.
- Now let the artichokes bake an additional 10 minutes.
- The tops should be golden brown and slightly crunchy.
- Remove and let cool 5 minutes before serving.
These are absolutely delicious and make a great vegetarian option as well. Buon Appetito!
Get more delicious recipes from Franco at www.francolania.com