Mammina Loreta's artichoke recipe since I can remember. We have been making these every spring season for years; they are always a welcome traditional dish on our table. —cucina di mammina
about 4 to 6 servings
fresh (approx.12 to 18) whole baby artichokes, cleaned and trimmed
1 whole fresh lemon
For the stuffing:
whole organic eggs
1/4 to 1/2 cups
fresh plain breadcrumbs (made from stale bread)
1/4 to 1/2 cups
1 to 2
celery stalks with leaves (use inner stalks)
scallions or 1 small sweet onion
small container of sliced mushrooms, drained
large ripe plum tomato
1/4 to 1/2
of red, yellow or orange sweet bell pepper (or a combination of them all)
unsalted chicken or vegetable stock (homemade or storebought)
ground black pepper
whole milk (if needed)
good splash of white wine
In This Recipe
How To Clean Baby Artichokes:
The key to these is to clean and soak them in a large bowl or sink full of ice water with lemon wedges to stop them from browning. With an artichoke in hand, start removing the tough outer leaves until you reach the tender inside leaves.
Trim the top of the artichoke leaves with a straight cut (about 1/4? or so off the top.) Cut the stalk off at the base and peel all the stalks and set aside to add to the stuffing mix. Place the cleaned and trimmed artichokes in the acidulated ice water as you go and set them aside.
To make the stuffing:
Chop the cleaned and trimmed stalks of the artichokes finely and add to them the finely chopped onion, celery stalk, plum tomato and canned mushrooms.
Place all these ingredients into a large bowl. Add the eggs to this and using a fork, mix loosely and add the fresh untoasted bread crumbs mixing until well combined.
Add some salt and pepper to your personal taste.
Add the seasoned breadcrumbs to this mixture and combine well.
The final mixture should be sticking together but still look moist, not dry and crumbly (if mixture looks too dry; add a touch of whole milk to moisten and mix well.)
Take an artichoke in hand (dry with a clean dish towel) and placing the top cut side down, smack the artichoke against the counter a few times until you see the leaves loosen up.
Place your fingers into the center and loosen the inner leaves by moving your fingers until you can reach inside the artichoke (you need to remove just a few of the soft inner leaves and the hairy choke in the center to create the space you need to place the stuffing.)
Using a small teaspoon, start place the stuffing down into the center of the artichoke and firmly pack it down using your fingers until the stuffing reaches the cut top of the artichoke.
Repeat this process until all are stuffed; then place all the artichokes into a nonstick deep-sided pan drizzled with olive oil, stem side down at first.
Brown the artichokes stem side down (be careful not to let stuffing fall out) and then turn over to stuffing side down and brown for a few minutes (be careful mot to let them stick, use plenty of olive oil here)
Lower the heat a bit and turn them back to stuffing side up. Add a good splash of white wine and let this simmer for a few minutes. Now add the stock to cover the artichokes almost entirely (stock needs to reach all the outer leaves up to the top of the stuffing.)
Sprinkle some salt and pepper to taste and increase the heat to a slow simmer and braise with the pan lid slightly covering them for about 45 to 55 minutes (if liquid evaporates too quickly, add some water to continue braising) or until the artichokes are fork tender and the leaves come off easily when touched.
Serve them with some of the braising liquid for your enjoyment.
Note: Reserve any extra braising liquid for use in risottos, pasta dishes and meat dishes. Store leftover artichokes in the refrigerator (add some braising liquid to keep them moist and flavorful) or you can freeze them for later use.