• French

Braised Artichokes

I heart-a-chockes.  Yep, nothing like one of my favorite vegetables to bring out my really good “dad jokes”.  No shame here.  “What did the green bean say to the eggplant?”…ok, no, not really.

Artichokes

Artichokes

But, seriously, artichokes make me happy.  Some people don’t get them.  “Too much work with not enough payoff.”  I suppose I could understand that, what with the teeth scraping and inner beard cleaning.  Eww that sounded inappropriately dirty.  But, I dare these haters to try artichokes again in the height of their season; and, the braised way.

Trim and Halve

Trim and Halve

It was during a conversation with one of these artichoke bigots that it dawned on me…to braise.  He kept saying that except for the heart the scoured bits from the leaves tasted like nothing more than the mayonnaise in which they were dipped.  I clearly disagreed, but it got me to thinking about how to infuse flavor into the hearty veg pre-creamy sauce dunk.

Clean Out the "Beard"

Clean Out the “Beard”

This last winter, I officially became a braised chicken bitch.  At least twice a week,  I was browning and drowning my chicken thighs in lemon, wine, and aromatics, and it never got tired.  Every last bit had exceptional flavor.  Not a bland bite on the bone.  Ok, then why not mimic this with my robust friend, the artichoke?

Braising Flavor

Braising Flavor

Well, a bright idea it was!  (I know I wasn’t the first to think of it, but I’m darn pleased with myself nevertheless.)  Every drag and pull on the leaves equalled an especially flavorful morsel.  Though, I used the braising liquid to make a simple sauce to accompany the artichokes, I vote to try them first as is.  Embrace thy Mediterranean vegetable flavor bomb.

First Face-Down

First Face-Down

 

Braised Artichokes

What you’ll need:

2 – 4 good sized artichokes, trimmed and halved lengthwise*
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
3 lemons, juiced and halves reserved
6 – 8 cups of water
4 – 6 Tb of butter, cold and cubed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat oil in a large 8-10 quart pot over medium-high heat.  Add garlic;  cook until fragrant.  Add artichokes cut side down.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until heart is slightly browned.  Flip over artichokes.  Add wine, lemon juice, reserved squeezed lemon halves, water to cover, and a good sprinkling of salt.  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a steady simmer.  Cook artichokes until tender, about 45 minutes.  Pull off an outside leaf and test for tenderness.  Remove artichokes to a platter; cover to keep warm.  Reserve 2 cups of the braising liquid.  Discard the rest.  Return reserved liquid to pot.  Cook at medium heat until reduced, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add butter; whisk until combined.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spoon sauce over the artichokes, or serve on the side as dipping sauce.

*Be sure to pull off all of the tough outer leaves.  They won’t soften up unless you overcook the rest of the artichoke.  I also like to remove the artichoke “beard” with a pairing knife before I cook them.  It makes for a neater eating experience.

Makes 2-6 servings.
I always like to make extras.  They are so good as a chilled leftover snack.Artichoke7

2 Comments Read what others are saying!

  1. Alan

    What “really good ‘dad jokes?'”
    Love, Dad

  2. A few years ago, I was at a lunch meeting at The Newsroom on Robertson (it’s gone now! boo hoo.) They had the BEST artichoke appetizer. Anyway, we ordered two of them, and we were enthusiastically eating them when the fourth member of our party arrived. As she sat down and joined the conversation, she picked up a DISCARDED LEAF from the trash bowl and scraped it with her teeth, imitating us. We all stopped eating and looked at her, realizing that this adult woman had never had or even SEEN an artichoke before! We gently showed her how to eat them. She took the instruction well and didn’t seem to be embarrassed at all, even though in retrospect, she might have squirmed a little on her way home, thinking about what she had been eating. Thank you, French, for a new recipe! – Tracy

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