Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Meat Stuffed Artichokes

Braised Meat Stuffed Artichokes












When I was a girl I remember my mother making large trays of stuffed artichokes for a holiday meal.  Actually, it was a team effort.  I was about 8 or 9 when she first handed me a pair of scissors and showed me how to trim the sharp points from each petal.  She did the real knife-work of course which basically consisted of trimming off the top and stem. 

I guess she didn’t want any preholiday ER visits.

She added the stuffing ingredients to a bowl while I mixed it all together.  We both stuffed them.  I’d watch her carefully and mimic her movements feeling accomplished as they began to take shape.  Before long we’d have tons of them done.    

Then during the holiday meal I’d grin from ear to ear when she told all the distant relatives how I made the artichokes.  A child’s pride is unsurpassed.

In this blog and corresponding YouTube video I did a small batch just to give you a scaled-down snapshot of how it’s done.  If I were actually preparing these for a holiday meal, let’s just say that filming and editing a video would have been nearly impossible.

  
Meat Stuffed Artichokes
Prep time: 15 Minutes
Bake Time: 1 ½ Hours
Servings: 2

Ingredients to Stuff the Artichokes
  • 2 artichokes
  • 6 oz ground beef
  • 1 cup fresh grated GF bread crumbs (toasted)
  • ½ cup pecorino romano
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cut lemon (to rub the artichokes during the prep)

 Ingredients for Baking the Artichokes
  • boiling artichoke water (enough to come up 1 inch in the baking vessel)
  • ½ cup white white
  • 1 clove garlic sliced
  • peeled artichoke stems sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Video Tutorial: 

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF (or 175ºC) and have a baking dish ready that will fit the artichokes.
  2. In a medium bowl stir together all of the stuffing ingredients.  I like to use 2 forks to break apart the meat and keep the stuffing light and airy versus compacting the meat and other ingredients together.
  3. To prepare the artichoke have ½ a cut lemon ready to rub all the cut surfaces as you are working to keep the artichoke from browning.
  4. Remove any leaves along the stem and the bottom row of leaves then cut off the stem.
  5. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of the stem and discard then peel the stem and slice it on the bias it into thin rounds to be used during the baking process. Remember to toss the slices with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.
  6. Cut the top ½ inch off the top of the artichoke with a sharp knife then use a scissors to trim the sharp points from every remaining leaf.
  7. Bring a pot of salted water to boil then blanch the artichokes (not the stems) for 15 minutes.
  8. Drain and cool the artichokes to a point where you can work with them. (reserve the artichoke water)
  9. Open the leaves until you are able to work your way down to the choke and small leaves and pull them out with your fingers or a scrape them out with a small spoon.
  10. Divide the filling into 2 parts and use half for each artichoke, opening the leaves as go so that you can work a nice amount of stuffing down into each leaf. 
  11. When they are both done prepare the baking dish by adding about 1 ½ cups of the salted boiling artichoke liquid, add ½ cup of white wine, the sliced artichoke stems and garlic and some crushed red pepper flakes to taste. 
  12. Stir the ingredients together then add stuffed artichokes to the dish.  Sprinkle with a little more pecorino, and a drizzle of olive oil then cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes covered then, remove the foil and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes more or until lightly golden and the leaves are tender.
  13. Spoon about 1-2 tablespoons of the pan juices over each artichoke just before serving.

Notes: 
  1. Since oven temperatures vary, make sure to check your artichokes for doneness by poking with a knife at the base to insure they are tender and testing to see that a leaf can easily be pulled out.  
  2. The braising liquid from the artichokes can be tossed with cooked short pasta, additional parsley, lemon slices, pecorino, and red pepper flakes for a nice accompaniment to the artichokes.  

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