Vegan Food Nerd

Italian Stuffed Artichokes

Leave a comment

20140723_193807I’m pretty sure artichokes have always been my favourite vegetable. I remember requesting them for birthday meals many times throughout my childhood and teen years. I just love them anyway you can prepare them; whether it’s a simple steamed artichoke, or stuffed then steamed, or marinated artichoke hearts, or grilled, etc.

Now, artichokes do take a little bit of work to clean and prepare and stuff, but the result is super delicious. Your stuffing can also vary slightly, but I will provide you with my favourite method.

Notes:

  • Artichoke size varies greatly! I like to use larger artichokes for stuffing (organic are preferred as they taste so much better, but this is not necessary). If you only see smaller artichokes, use those for grilling or other methods of cooking as they won’t work well here.
  • It can be a bit time consuming prepping your artichokes, and the larger the artichoke the longer they take to cook. Generally anywhere from 30-80 minutes could be required for cooking.
  • You may have some leftover stuffing. Save it in a ziploc bag for future use. On the other hand, if you stuff generously you may need to make a bit more.
  • After writing this post, I realize more pictures or a video might be required if you’re new to this method!

Ingredients

2 large artichokes
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1-2 garlic cloves (if they are large, 1 will suffice)
veg cheese or veg parmesan (optional)
1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
olive oil

20140723_173645

1) First you need to clean up your artichokes so they are ready for stuffing. Using a sharp knife, cut off the top 1/4 – 1/3 of the artichoke. This will give you some room to get into the leaves.

2) Cut the bottom stem so that your artichoke can sit upright on it’s own.

3) Snip off the top of each of the leaves with scissors or a knife as they are quite sharp.

4) Turn the artichoke upsidedown (stem side up in your hand) and bang it on the counter or a wooden cutting board a few times to help open up the leaves. This will help you to get in between the leaves that are held fairly tightly together. You can also prod them open with your hands a bit.

5) Rinse your artichokes under cold water and if not using immediately place in a bowl of cold water mixed with lemon juice to prevent browning.

6) Mix breadcrumbs, parsley, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Slice garlic thinly.

7) Now, working with one artichoke at a time, get in between each leaf with a bit of your stuffing. The amount you use is really up to you. Try to get in between each leaf but it’s ok to leave a few without stuffing. I usually leave the very middle untouched.

8) Sporadically place the garlic slices in between some of the leaves, you want maybe 1/3rd of the artichoke to have garlic rather than every single opening.

9) If you so desire, you can also repeat the garlic part of the stuffing with some grated veggie mozzarella or parmesan. I have used pecan parmesan in the past with success as well as store bought vegan parm.

10) Once your artichokes are stuffed place into a pot and fill with about 1.5″ of water (you want to cover the bottom third of your artichoke).

20140723_181511

11) Drizzle each artichoke with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper. Feel free to salt the water in the pot fairly generously as this helps to season the artichokes. Squeeze lemon juice over each artichoke, especially if they were not placed in the lemon water earlier. This will help to brighten the flavour.

12) Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to a simmer – be sure to keep the lid on or they will not steam.

13) Large artichokes will take roughly 45-60 minutes to steam but they can take longer. You will know when they are ready when you can pull a leaf nearer to the center of the artichoke out easily. The bottom portion of the leaf should be tender and have a buttery texture.

14) Once cooked, remove from pot with tongs and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Serves 2

To eat your artichoke

1) Starting on the outside layer, remove a leaf, and scrape the bottom portion of the leaf between your teeth. This will allow you to eat the stuffing as well as the tender portion of the leaf. Continue leaf by leaf!

2) Once you get closer to the centre of the artichoke, the leaves will be more and more tender allowing you to eat more and more of each leaf.

3) When there are no leaves left (you may have to pop off the really thin centre leaves), you will be left with the choke and the heart. Remove the choke (this is the hairy part of the artichoke) with a fork or spoon. Now you can eat the entire heart hiding below the little hairs. This is my favourite part of the whole experience as it is usually the most tender and delicious!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s