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Tuesday
Apr062010

Baked Stuffed Artichokes with Leeks (and Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Trim an Artichoke)


 

It's artichoke season and I know a lot of people don't know what to do with them. These thorny little devils contain succulent insides and it's just a matter of trimming away all the inedible parts.  Once you get the hang of it, trimming an artichoke goes very quickly.  Don't believe me?  Observe from a master in Campo di Fiori in Rome:

 

 That took under 60 seconds.  I still can't trim an artichoke like that and you don't have to either.  I will show you, however, an easy way that gets rid of most of the inedible parts and gives you easy access to the heart of the artichoke, the best part.  If you are able to buy artichokes with some of the stems still on, don't slice these off - the stems are some of the best eating of the artichoke, very much like the heart.  

My mom and I used to just boil artichokes whole and we didn't bother with any trimming at all.  We liked to eat the leaves and just discarded anything that wasn't edible as we were eating.   In this method, however, you remove the thorny and tough parts of the leaves and then slice the artichokes in half for two reasons - it makes the choke easier to remove and it gives you a cavity to place the stuffing.

You can use any stuffing mixture you want.  I like leeks, but you can substitute regular onions.  You can add pancetta, pine nuts, herbs, anything you like.  But please use fresh bread crumbs.  Make your own. Don't purchase dry bread crumbs from the grocery store.  I make mine with leftover bread and just remove the crusts and place it in my food processor and grind away.  I keep the bread crumbs in a plastic container in the refrigerator.  They are far superior to anything you can buy.

 

Baked Stuffed Artichokes with Leeks

 

for a printable recipe, click here

serves 4 (or 8 as an appetizer)

Ingredients:

  • 4 artichokes
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 3 leeks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs 
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup chicken broth 

Instructions:

To trim the artichokes:   

Remove most of the smaller leaves, starting at the bottom of the artichoke, by just snapping them off. With scissors, trim the tips off any of the larger leaves. The very top leaves won't matter, because you will be cutting these off.  Slice off the very tip of the stem. With a small sharp paring knife, trim the stem of the artichoke by starting at the bottom of the stem and trimming toward the top of the artichoke - you are removing the tough dark green outer part of the stem. (below)

With the sharp small paring knife, clean up the bottom of the artichoke by removing any of the dark parts of the leaves that you snapped off.  Just slide your knife around the bottom of the artichoke, like you were peeling an apple, and remove all those bits. With a very sharp larger knife, cut off about the top third of the whole artichoke. Place artichoke on cutting board, stem up, and slice right down the stem, cutting the artichoke in half.  Rub the cut lemon all over the artichoke, to prevent browning. With your small knife, insert point right under the choke and run knife all the way under the choke and lift out, following the arc of the heart.  The choke is the hairy part right under the purple inner leaves.  Do not cut into or remove the heart, which lies right under the hairy choke and on top of the stem.  Lift out all the hairy choke and inner leaves. (below)

  

Moisten with lemon all the cut, exposed parts of the artichokes.  Set artichokes in a large baking or roasting dish. (I used a paella pan).  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

This is what you want - a cleaned artichoke, ready for stuffing:

Pour chicken broth into the bottom of the baking pan with the artichokes.  You are going to bake the artichokes without the stuffing for the first 40 minutes.  The broth will keep the artichokes moist.  Cover with foil tightly and bake at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare stuffing:

Clean leeks by cutting off root tip and slicing off the dark green end, leaving some lighter green.  Slice leeks in half, lengthwise, and wash, if they are dirty.  Slice thinly into half rings.  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in skillet. Add leeks and cook, not allowing them to brown, for a few minutes until they are soft.  Add garlic and saute for two minutes.  Season with some salt and pepper.  Turn off heat. Add chopped parsley, bread crumbs and cheese and stir. Transfer to a bowl.


Remove artichokes from oven. Uncover and stuff each artichoke with some of the stuffing mixture, place foil on top of pan again tightly, bake for another 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes until stuffing is a little golden brown and the tip of a small knife can be inserted into the heart of the artichoke, right above the stem, and meets with no resistance.  If, at any point you see that all the broth has cooked off, just add a little water into the bottom of the pan.

Serve artichokes hot or at room temperature.  

 

More artichoke recipes:

Roman Style Artichokes

 

Whole Stuffed Artichokes:

 

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Reader Comments (19)

Great photos! The best tutorial I've ever seen on trimming artichokes.

April 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKath

What a great way to clean artichokes and clear directions AND wonderful photos.
Thank you. I just ordered some from Fresh Direct, my NYC internet grocery store.
Can't wait to eat them!

I am definitely going to try to trim an artichoke like that! How incredible. Great recipe. I have never, ever cut my artichokes in half like that. We make them whole in our family, but it makes so much sense to cut them in half; and, the presentation is even more fabulous.

April 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

What a great post! So helpful. I have always been a little intimidated by fresh artichokes. I have only prepared them once and they seemed like a lot of work, with little to eat. This looks like a yummy dish! Thanks Elaine and see you soon.

April 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie M.

Interesting post. Love artichokes, yours look perfect!! thanks for the instructions!

April 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCherine

Great tutorial. You cleaned them exactly like my Mom does. I learned from the best. We eat stuffed chokes all the time. Love them. I'm going to try this version cause I LOVE leeks! Yummy!

Loved your artichokes and the instructions. Do you have a recipe for perserving artichokes in a jar with oil etc.?

April 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermiranda

They look so good. Send me a box of these please.

April 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge

These look great and after watching that video, I am not so fearful of the artichoke :)
I am going to try these next week. I made the Chicken Ragu tonight and that was amazing.
Thanks for this great blog, recipes and helpful tips. I am loving it here.

April 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShelly

I can't live without artichokes... I love that top photo Elaine, must try them with leeks next time.

April 10, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermarie

Wow, he throws away all that? They obviously don't cost much in Rome.
I'll try your stuffing. Looks yummy and different to the way I usually make them.

April 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScintilla

What a wonderful post! I have never tried fresh artichokes but your post has inspired me to give them a try!

April 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersaveur

i just bought two yesterday...

April 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterclaudia @ ceF

We just returned home to Belgium after two weeks in Italy. I loved the variety of artichokes we found there. I've bookmarked this recipe. Thanks!

I've just found your blog, and am enjoying exploring it.

May 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKate at Serendipity

Uum... a clearly kitchen newbie question. Can you eat all of this? Or do you have to scrape the leaves with your teeth?

March 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

From The Italian Dish:

Angeltheresa: Yes, you have to scrape the meat off the leaves with your teeth! The outer leaves are still inedible, except for the tasty meaty part at the bottom of the leaf.

March 2, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I am so happy I found your blog on pinterest. As I am a huge artichoke lover, your recipe is just perfect for me!

August 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterUrban Classics

You take the mystery out of preparing artichokes and make it so achievable, this recipe is truly delicious.

Thank you,

Lesley

www.estestest.me.uk

April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLesley Jones

Would love to make these gluten
free and with either a goat or sheep cheese. Any suggestions? Can't wait

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

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