Monday, May 21, 2012

New Orleans Stuffed Artichoke

Much like brussels sprouts, artichokes are not something that get bought frequently in this house.  Don’t get me wrong, I love veggies—but we tend to stockpile the ones that are a bit more universal.  You know, carrots, celery, onions, bell pepper, etc. AKA—Veggies I Can Use In Nearly Anything.     Not things that require a recipe search on Pinterest.
(Hi, my name is Artie, and I’m SPECIAL.)
But when I saw these prickly perennials (huzzah for alliteration!) on sale last week for 99 cents, I figured, “what the heck.”
When I worked at Martin’s in New Orleans, we stocked our to-go case with pre-cooked stuffed artichokes.  As a Missourian I had never been exposed to stuffed artichokes, but as a New Orleans newb, I couldn’t seem to get away from them.  My coworker & good friend Kathy inducted me into the world of choked ‘chokes and there was no turning back.

On their own, artichokes have all sorts of health benefits: antioxidants, fiber, aid in digestion, reduce bad cholesterol, and they’re great for your liver.
And if you cram ‘em full of bread crumbs, garlic, & Parmesan cheese, they are positively INSANE.  Great for a party or family gathering….basically anywhere there will be other people to assist you demolishing it, lest you eat the whole thing yourself (NOT recommended).
Note: This recipe comes from Kathy’s grandma, and has not been significantly altered or healthed-up.  There are a few other lower-fat versions out there that I might try sometime, but for this go-round, I wanted 100% genuine New Orleans.

1 medium artichoke (choose one that is not too compact or tight)
1 cup bread crumbs (we used seasoned, since it’s what we had on hand)
5 large cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup Romano or Parmesan cheese, grated
3/8 C Wesson oil
1/8 C Olive oil

Cut the stem off to make the base flat. Cut off about ½ in of the top, and then snip the remaining leaves to remove “stickers”. Open the leaves by pushing the artichoke on the counter upside down. Rinse artichoke well. Drain and set aside.
Mix the remaining ingredients together well. The mixture should resemble Graham Cracker crust consistency: it can be flattened with the bowl of a spoon and the mixture sticks together.
Place a large spoonful of mixture in the center of the artichoke. Starting in the center of the artichoke, stuff each leaf. Use small spoon to scoop mixture, and push mixture into opening between leaves with your fingers.


When all leaves are full, add a thin slice of lemon to the top center. Cut another slice into quarters and arrange them on the 4 quadrants of the artichoke. (Note: we didn’t have a lemon on-hand, so I just spritzed with a bit of lemon juice.
Select a pot in which the artichoke will fit tightly, and also has a tight fitting cover. Place about ¼ inch water in the pot along with a few drops of olive oil. Add the artichoke (right side up). Bring the water to a boil, then turn down heat, cover and simmer one hour or until leaves come out easily and taste tender. Watch that the water does not all boil off. Add more water if needed.

Remove artichoke from water and allow to cool. Cover and freeze when cool, or refrigerate until serving time. Frozen artichokes may be re-heated in the microwave.

So, if you’re an artichoke newb, perhaps you’re wondering “how do I EAT this highly delectable looking concoction you’ve created, Bobbi?”  Lucky for you, there’s this thing called the internet.  I’m pretty sure you can Google “how to wipe my tukkus” and get a YouTube tutorial. 
But seriously…if you don’t know how, check out the tutorial, lest you end up with a mouth full of undigestable fibrous roughage….like my poor husband did.  But fear not, he’s now properly trained—and thank goodness, so I don’t have to try to eat this whole thing myself!  YUM!

NutriFacts: (makes 12 servings, about 3-4 petals per serving)
Calories 153.2
  Total Fat 11.4 g
  Saturated Fat 2.6 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 7.3 g
  Cholesterol 5.0 mg
  Sodium 302.5 mg
  Potassium 74.3 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 8.6 g
  Dietary Fiber 1.1 g
  Sugars 0.6 g
  Protein 4.4 g

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