Stuffed Artichokes

 

It was not until I was much older that I realized not everyone’s family celebrates get-togethers with stuffed artichokes.

I remember the first time I took my boyfriend to our Christmas party. Food is always a huge part of any gathering, appetizers all over the counter to be picked at for the hour or two before the main course is out. We have sliced cheese and crackers, shrimp cocktail, brie wrapped in croissant dough, stuffed olives, spinach dip with pita chips, bacon wrapped scallops, baked eggplant, and always stuffed artichokes.

When we got home later that night, my boyfriend said, and this is a direct quote: “I have never seen a whole family scrape plant leaves on their teeth before.”

I mean, he wasn’t wrong.

For those of you who have not eaten a whole artichoke before, you basically pull of petal by petal (starting at the outside), flip it over so the base of the leaf is in your mouth and the inside is touching your bottom teeth. Then, scrape the lower half of the leaf with your teeth to get all of the breadcrumb stuffing and meaty bits of the artichoke heart. Discard the leaf, then grab another one. Continue until all of the petals are gone and you are just left with the prized heart.

It always seemed normal to me. But again, I had always been around it. I know, the description in itself sounds crazy and a little intimidating. If you haven’t eaten an artichoke before and need some help, here’s a video to give you the basic idea. When you’re scraping the petal, the inside should come off easily and be tender and nutty. If what you’re getting is bitter, you’re scraping too far away from the base of the artichoke.

And you don’t need these for a fancy party or appetizer. Sometimes I’ll make one for myself on a Saturday afternoon and have it serve as my dinner.

Enjoy the artichoke adventure!

Ingredients
2 artichokes
¾ cup Italian breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
6 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup parmesan, grated
salt & pepper, to taste
½ lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup water
¾ cup white wine

DoveWare Casserole Dish
2 artichokes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Directions
1. Preheat your oven to 400℉.
2. Clean and prepare the artichokes (here is a helpful guide on how to do that from Curious Cuisiniere)
3. In a medium bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, melted butter, minced garlic, parmesan, salt, pepper, lemon zest, oregano, and basil. If desired, add olive oil a little at a time to reach desired moistness. I usually only add about a teaspoon. You want the filling texture to resemble moist sand.
4. Starting with the outside leaves of the artichokes, begin stuffing a little filling into the base of each leaf, about 1 teaspoon per leave. Work leaf by leaf towards the center. Repeat with the other artichoke. If you have leftover filling, place some in the center of the artichoke.
5. Once both artichokes are stuffed, transfer them to the casserole dish. Add the water, white wine, and lemon juice to the casserole dish. The artichokes should be slightly submerged in the water.
6. Tightly cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil. Carefully place into the oven, so not to spill any of the liquid.
7. Bake for 1 hour.
8. After one hour, carefully remove the casserole dish from the oven. Remove the aluminum foil and return to the oven. Set for broil and let the artichokes cook an additional 5 minutes until the breadcrumb mixture is golden brown and the tips of the leaves are starting to char.
9. Carefully remove from the oven. Let stand 5-10 minutes before removing from the casserole dish.
10. Serve on plates with a bowl to discard the finished leaves.

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