I've always loved artichokes, but I've always eaten them the same way. After watching an episode of Anne Burrell's Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, I decided to give stuffed artichokes a shot. Anne and I cook very differently, so my recipe is a very modified version of hers. She has some great secrets for keeping your artichokes from turning brown by using lots of lemon in the preparation. I loved this appetizer, but my DH found that it wasn't as tasty as the old tried and true method of dipping the leaves in butter. I wonder if he'd think differently if I made Anne's recipe.
2 large artichokes
2 lemons, halved
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup vegetable stock or water
1 cup minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Fill a large bowl with cold water, the juice of one lemon, and the lemon halves from the juiced lemon.
2. Wash artichokes by plunging them up and down in lemon water. Cut off stem end of each artichoke and trim off outer layer of each stem then place in the bowl of lemon water.
3. Remove bottom leaves from the artichoke and throw away. Trim about 1/2 inch from the top of each artichoke (about one-fourth of each leaf). Rub the top of each artichoke and trimmed edges of leaves with cut lemon to prevent discoloration and place in the lemon water until you're ready for Step 4.
4. Arrange the artichokes, stem ends down, in a large Dutch oven; cover with the lemon water, and add the lemon juice. Add the artichoke stems. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until a leaf near the center of each artichoke pulls out easily. Drain and set aside.
5. Chop up the cooked artichoke stems. Combine vegetable stock and vinegar in a nonstick skillet; place over medium heat until hot. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Add zucchini, tomato, parsley, artichoke stems, and bell pepper; cook 13 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in salt and pepper.
6. Scrape out the fuzzy thistle center (choke) from each artichoke with a spoon, and discard. Spoon 1/2 cup vegetable mixture into center of each artichoke, and serve immediately.