Stuffed artichokes were an early Spring staple in my house growing up. My mom cooked them in a flavourful broth with seasonal peas or fava beans. They’re stuffed with my egg and cheese recipe, an old favourite (see Pallotte cacio e uova).
The hardest part of this recipe is preparing the artichokes. The recipe below provides helpful, straightforward instructions. Don’t be afraid to pull back as many of the other leaves of the artichokes and cut off any prickly leaf tips. You will be rewarded with beautiful green/yellow tender artichokes that can be cooked stuffed in this recipe or plain if you prefer. Buy a few extra, while they are in season, and cook and store them in your refrigeration ready to accompany any meal as a side dish or add them to your salad.
The large and medium size artichokes you are seeing in the markets at this time are arriving from California. Ontario artichokes will arrive later in the year, closer to the fall.
*Carla’s tip: Artichoke leaves brown quickly once you start trimming them. Rub artichokes with half of a cut lemon periodically and place them in water with lemon juice while preparing them for this recipe. Also, prepare the stuffing and broth before cleaning the artichokes, to reduce the time that the artichokes might be sitting around and browning.
- 1/2 slice French or Italian bread, (about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick) torn into pieces
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) whole milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup ( 125 mL) Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh or lightly toasted, breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 4 cups (1 L) vegetable, chicken stock or water
- 2 Tbsps (30 mL) olive oil
- 1/4 bunch of fresh parsley sprigs
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
- 2 Tbsps (30 mL) white wine (optional)
- 4 medium artichokes, rinsed
- 1 large lemon, cut in half
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a small bowl toss the torn bread with the milk and set aside for about 5 minutes. Using your hands, squeeze some of the milk from the bread (the bread should be somewhat soggy), reserve the milk. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs in a large bowl with a fork. Add the cheese, breadcrumbs and milk bread to eggs, one at a time, stirring between additions. Batter should be light and creamy, add about 1 to 2 Tbsps (15 to 30 mL) reserved milk to make a moist, but not soupy, batter (the mixture should stick together when you form a ball). Stir in the parsley, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Loosely cover and set aside for 20 minutes in refrigerator or until ready to stuff artichokes.
- In a 2 or 3 quart saucepan, or a saucepan that will tightly fit 4 stuffed artichokes sitting upright (you would like them to remain upright so that the stuffing does not fall out), place stock, oil, parsley, garlic, white wine (if using) and salt and pepper to taste, cover, and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low maintaining a low boil.
- Using a serrated knife, cut about 1-inch from top of artichoke and remove the stem so that artichoke will stand up. With cooking scissors, remove pointy thorns/spikes of artichokes. Remove and discard as much of the outer tough leaves of artichokes until you get to the thin, yellow-green inner leaves.
- Gently spread out the outer leaves of the artichokes until you get to the centre, remove the centre leaves from the artichokes in addition to silky layer at the bottom of artichoke, where it meets the heart. This should make a space to place stuffing.
- Using a spoon, press about 1/4 of the breadcrumb stuffing into each artichoke. Off of the heat, place artichokes with stuffing facing upwards, in saucepan with stock. If stock has reduced, add up to an additional 1 cup (250 mL) of water or add enough water so that liquids reach 3/4 way up artichokes (this will help reduce darkening of outer leaves and tenderize artichokes further). Return saucepan to heat and partially cover, simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until hearts are fork-tender. Transfer artichokes to a serving dish, ladle broth over top.