Hye Thyme Cafe: Stuffed Artichokes

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Stuffed Artichokes


I seriously don't think I had ever even seen an artichoke until I moved to New Orleans back in the 90s. Then they seemed to be everywhere! I had heard of people eating artichoke leaves dipped in butter, but never having gotten up close and personal with one before, I didn't realize there was actually some substance to the leaves. My experience with leaves and cooking goes to grape leaves, which I can't even begin to imagine eating dipped in butter or straight out of the jar. I guess that image is what kept me away from the artichokes until I saw one stuffed.  How cool is that?!?  😊

You can pretty much stuff them with whatever you want. You just need to make sure it involves some moisture so when you bake them, they don't dry out. I'll use either broth, water, olive oil, melted butter, or a combination of those things. I'm not big on seafood, so I stick with a more traditional stuffing type filling. This time around I went with . . .

1 can artichoke hearts - diced
1/2 small onion - minced
dry herb stuffing mix
fresh bread crumbs
Italian seasoning
Grated Romano or Parmesan Cheese
Beef broth
2 T melted butter
Lemon Zest
Lemon Juice
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

As with anything else, start by giving your artichokes a quick wash. Then, using a sharp knife, cut the stem off the bottom so the artichoke will stand up straight on its own. Starting at the bottom, use a small pair of scissors to snip the pointy tips off of the leaves. I always keep a small pair of scissors handy in the kitchen for snipping herbs, etc. If you don't have any scissors that will fit comfortably, you could probably use a small paring knife - but you will want to set a spoon or something behind the leaf so you don't cut through to the next one. When you start getting toward the top where the leaves are tighter together, pick up the artichoke by the bottom and just kind of slam the top onto the counter to open it up more. You can slice straight across the top to save some time and aggravation if you want. That's what I did this time ... 


Now find a pot that it (they) will stand up in (with or without a steamer basket), add an inch or so of water and let it steam until tender. If your pots are too big, you can try bunching up some foil for it to lean against, or nestle a ramekin or something in next to it.  

 

While that's going on, you can mix your filling together.



When the artichokes are cool enough for you to handle, set them on your work surface. I always seem to start off using an iced tea spoon or something then just switch to using my hands. Starting at the bottom, pull back a leaf and squish in some of the filling. Work your way around the whole artichoke in a circle, then start working your way up toward the top.

When it's full, shave a little lemon zest over the top, then sprinkle some more cheese and give it a drizzle of olive oil. Toss it in the oven until the filling starts to brown, then sprinkle a little fresh chopped parsley or something over the top.


To eat the artichoke, start from the bottom again -- pull off one of the leaves, using your thumb or a little fork to keep the filling on it if necessary, then, holding the top of the leaf between your thumb and index finger, put it in your mouth, close your teeth over it and drag the leaf between your teeth so you are pulling the flesh out of the leaf to eat along with the filling.  Yummmm!!!


14 comments:

  1. These sound amazing! I love artichokes, but usually I just dip them in dressing. Stuffed artichokes sound so decadent!

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  2. Thanks Megan. They really are good. I usually include garlic too, but I think I was so pressed for time that day, I totally forgot. You can use whatever you want really. They're definitely a conversation starter when there are people present who have never had one. :)

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  3. You are so creative. I love love love artichokes. I never want to buy what in the jar/can. I look at the ones in produce and had no clue how to "get to it". Now I know.

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    1. Actually, although I haven't found a jarred artichoke that I like yet, I use canned artichokes all the time! Just the other night, I made some to go along with "your" chicken. I find most of the jarred ones to be too briney and strangely seasoned. I know a lot of people use frozen, but I don't think I've ever seen frozen artichokes. The canned are also great in salads.

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  4. I have only ever eaten artichokes in spinach/artichoke dip, and I use canned artichokes to make it. The fresh/raw ones make me nervous. This looks so yummy, but I'm a bit confused. So, when you are eating it, you kind of squeeze the flesh out with your teeth and then discard the outside of the leaf?

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    1. That's exactly right! The "meat" is in the bottom of the leaf, so when you pull it between your teeth, you're pulling that nice meaty part, where the tips are thinner/drier and more fibrous. You "leave the shells behind" so to speak. :)

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  5. wow! I have seen somethin like this here in China in stores. they could be seen everywhere too depending on the season. but I have no clue what it is until today seeing it on your post. And this is the kind of vegetable that I usually do not include in my home cooking because I just do not know what to do with it and yeah thanks for your tips on how to eat.. because I also have no idea how its eaten. lol but you are great! that looks really inviting to try. ;-) visiting from TALU ;-)

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    1. Honestly, I never ate them growing up. It wasn't until I moved to New Orleans in 93 and saw them this way that I tried them. Now I use artichokes all the time! When I was a kid, the only way I saw people eat them was to saute the leaves, then eat them dipped in butter. That just did not appeal to me for some reason. Aside from using the fresh artichokes this way, I love using canned artichokes in salads, cooked with tomatoes, onions, garlic and some fresh herbs, etc.

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  6. Oh man, your recipes look so awesome. I need to spend some more time in here pinning. I've never tried cooking fresh artichokes before. These look awesome! Pinning! TALU

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    1. My sister thinks I'm crazy - every time I see baby ones at the grocery store, I think how cool it would be if everyone had their own personal baby stuffed artichoke. To her, that translates to me spending 12 hours trying to stuff all those tiny little leaves LOL.

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  7. I would like to try this. My dad used to make a sauce and we would eat the leaves as a kid, but I have never seen them stuffed like this.

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    1. A lot of people include shrimp and other things, but I like a more traditional type of stuffing/filling. You've got me curious now about what type of sauce your Dad used??

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    2. I don't remember for sure, but I think it might have been Hollandaise.

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  8. I discovered artichokes when I spent a summer in Paris back in the early 70s. I admit that I most commonly eat them now in the form of frozen or marinated hearts. This reminded me of what I've been missing out on...the finger licking! Talu-ho!

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