Lemons & Artichokes; now that’s a Sunday. 

Dino chillen

Dino “chillen” in the Kitchen. Daddy’s little “hoover”

Meat stuffed Artichokes was on the menu last Sunday. While often a family holiday treat growing up. Living in the Bay Area gives me access to them much easier; But mostly this weekend, it was because my pal David and I stopped by some produce stands, on the way back from Santa Cruz and the artichokes looked so good. So went with the basic catch all recipe I use these days. Of course, it also being a warm weekend that meant I had a constant companion in the kitchen to help me cook and clean up the floor. So since it isn’t  my fault the weather shifted. I say so; buck up and stay out of the kitchen while these little babies simmer.

So lots of versions exist online both with and with out stuffing. Many restaurants also offer them grilled with a dip or stuffed with grated cheese and toasted bread crumbs (nice but sorta wimpy to me).

For me  – I always go back to the way we always had them growing up. A mix of ground meat (I like to use a mix of beef and sausage), parsley, the peeled and diced stems of the artichoke stalks (when cooked they get tender), seasoned bread crumbs, grated cheese, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, then the rest of the flavors change based on mood or season or whats available. Trim the tops of the choke so it’s flat at the top and clip the tips of the outer leaves. Spread the leaves a bit to make pockets for the meat. Lightly salt & pepper the insides of the leaves  (optional – you can also use any flavored seasoning mix you prefer). Then stuff the meat into as many crooks and crannies as you can and top with more meat. In a large pot, with a few inches of cold water. Place the chokes in and simmer until leaves pull out easily and meat is done. Cooke time is 60 -90 min (depends on size) covered. I included a formal recipe version below. What to eat with them? Well in our hours they were always a sort of add on to a big mean. A combo side and meat dish meet vegetable. But in the summer or warm weather months – it pairs great with a salad. Just have plenty of napkins. They can get messy to eat.

For those of new to artichokes – I can across this little guy showing folks how to do it!

 

Then for a treat,  later Sunday afternoon and for Monday’s Breakfast was a new variation on boxed lemon poppyseed loaf. This is your standard box mix with a few variations to amp up the flavor profile. Once I get it perfected I will share.

Meat Stuffed Artichokes

This is a variation of a version I grew up eating. In our house, we always stuffed them with a ground meat mixture.

  • 4 Artichokes (They should feel firm and heavy. I tend to like ones that are around the size of a softball over smaller ones.)
  • 1 lb Ground beef (more lean than not.)
  • 1 lb Bulk italian sausage (no casing) (seasoned pork also works well.)
  • 1/2 Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parsley (chopped) (Dried is fine but reduce to 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup Seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder (Optional)
  • 1 Egg (For use as a binder)
  • Red Pepper flakes (I generally use about a 1/2 teaspoon in the mix and some sprinkled on top at the end)
  • Onions (diced) (Optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Herbs and spices as needed (This part is all about your tastes and pleasures.)
  1. Trim the tops of each artichoke so it is flat at the top and clip the tips of the outer leaves. 

  2. Spread the leaves a bit to make pockets. 

  3. Salt and pepper the insides of the leaves lightly (optional). 

  4. Then stuff the meat mixture into as many crooks and crannies as you can and top with more meat.

  5. In a large pot, with a few inches of cold water. Place the artichokes in, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and salt

  6. Cover and simmer until leaves pull out easily and meat is done approximately 60 – 90 mins. (Some recipes on line combine two cooking methods and steam the artichokes first then stuff and bake.)

  7. To serve; place in a warm, large bowl or plate with a small dish for the used leaves. 

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