Greetings, dear meows!
I’ve been seeing artichokes all over the markets here in SoCal lately and it made me think about what an intriguing vegetable artichokes are.
Artichokes are a variety of Thistle. It’s a flowering plant with purple buds and are quite beautiful when left to bloom. Once that happens, they’re not edible anymore. We consume them before that process happens when the artichoke heart is still tender and delicious!
Artichokes are also high in antioxidants, help lower cholesterol, detox the liver and digestive system, very high in fiber, help to maintain blood sugar levels, high in iron, and are great for the skin! Whew! That’s a ton of benefits. And they’re freaking delicious!
Which leads me to why I’ve written this little blog post! I made stuffed artichokes! They’re a “little” labor intensive, but nothing too crazy. I didn’t really include a recipe, but more of a step by step method of preparation since most meows use the stuffing of their choice.
You can use a vegetable & bread based stuffing like I did, or rice and meat, sausage, whole grains like quinoa or barley… It’s up to you!
I had a ton of veggies in the fridge and about 1 1/2 cups of some stuffing croutons in the cupboard, so I decided to sauté up some onions, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, spinach, and parsley. Sautéed them until the veggies were tender, deglazed the pan with 2 cups of water and let that come to a boil, basically making a quick veggie stock. Seasoned with salt & pepper, and after about 5 minutes, added the croutons, mixed it all up and biggity bam! Stuffing was ready.
Now on to the chokes! First you want to fill a large pot, like a pasta pot with water and add salt & some fresh squeezed lemon. The lemon helps to prevent too much oxidation and keeps the artichokes from turning brown. Bring to a boil.
Cut the long stem of the chokes off and leave about an inch of the stem left to keep the bottom petals intact and stable. Then you cut the artichokes in half horizontally to make it easier to scoop out the chokes and stuff later on once cooked. Side note. The petals on the artichokes have little thorns on the tips. Just clip those off with some scissors. Add your trimmed artichokes to the boiling water and cook them for about 20 minutes until you can poke a knife into the bottom easily. Should be soft, but not too mushy or over cooked or else the artichoke will just fall apart.
Once cooked, remove the chokes from the water and let them drain & cool slightly for about 10 minutes so they’re easier to handle. Once they’ve cooled, with a spoon, gently scoop out the center petals until you see the “choke”.
Again, gently scoop out the choke thistles until you see the base of the artichoke heart. You want to make sure and remove all of the thistles because they’re very fibrous and inedible.
Once your chokes are all scooped out, stuff the center and outer petals with your stuffing of choice. I topped mine off with grated pecorino cheese!
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, slice up some lemon, serve with your favorite aioli or just eat them as they are and VOILA! Time to eat!
I hope you meows give fresh artichokes a try. It’s really not as complex as it might seem. It’s a little bit of work, but so worth it in the end! I’m going to try and get another post up before hand, but in case I don’t, I wanna wish you all a very Meowy Christmas!!! May your holiday be filled with lots of eating, drinking, family, friends, love, and meows!!! Thanks for being here with me! Until next time…
Cheers, hugs, & meows!