Let’s talk stuffing. Not the kind that goes in a turkey, or the one you make at Thanksgiving. I’m really not into that kind – I like my turkey on its own, preferably with a side of oven roasted Brussels sprouts drizzled in maple balsamic. I’ve never stuffed a turkey, but I’ve been really into stuffing things lately. For example…
My face, mostly with these:
And my latest stuffing receptacle….
Are you into artichokes? They’ve been a bit of an acquired taste for me, but I’m loving them now! My first-ever artichoke trial was on Try Something New Tuesday 6, back in March of 2010. I opted for the canned variety, and later tried to cook a fresh choke but failed miserably. Determined to right my wrongs, I tried again last week. After Googling several How-To-Stuff-an-Artichoke tutorials (some more simple than others) I embarked on my quest to make a perfect stuffed artichoke.
The result? Success! Wanna know how? Lucky for you, I’ve put together a super simple, very visual how-to of my own. First, you’ll need a few basic ingredients.
The lemon prevents the artichoke from browning once the leaves are exposed to air, but if you’re not worried about this, you can leave it out. The garlic and parsley help to season the stuffing, which is made from…..
Quinoa! By now you’re probably aware that I’m a quinoa-a-holic, and not being a big cheese-eater, I wanted to find an alternative filling for my lovely little choke. You’ll also need a sharp knife to prep the artichoke, and a few other little things that you’ll see listed in the recipe below.
To prep the artichoke, give it a wash and pat it dry. Place it on a cutting board and chop off the stem. You will want to cut across the bottom of the base of the choke too, so that it can sit up on its own.
While you’re at it, chop about 1/2 inch off of the top.
You’ll notice that you’ve got some brownish, rough, pointy leaves around the outside. You can either pull these off, or use a pair of scissors to snip across the points.
Separate the leaves of the artichoke by pulling them apart.
Keep pulling the yellow-ish leaves in the middle, which cover the heart of the artichoke. After you’ve pulled these leaves out, you’ll see a fuzzy thing (the choke) which is inedible. Pull it out with your fingers, a spoon, or whatever else you can grab it with. Get rid of it – it’s not very tasty.
To prevent the leaves from browning, rub them with a few lemon wedges. (Note: You can pull the leaves apart much wider than you see below. I squeezed the lemon juice on mid-pluck because the leaves were starting to brown).
Now it’s stuffing time! Scoop your quinoa mixture (in the recipe below) into the artichoke, pushing it into the gaps between the leaves with a spoon.
Once you’ve stuffed the artichoke, place it in a baking dish. Fill the dish with enough water to cover about 1 inch of the bottom of the artichoke, then carefully transfer it to the oven.
Let it bake for about 45 minutes, and broil for a few minutes near the end for a golden-crisp finish. I suggest setting a timer, because artichokes aren’t the cheapest produce item and we don’t want any accidents! When it comes out, you’ll have one of these:
Quinoa and Herb Stuffed Artichokes
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Keywords: bake broil appetizer snack side lunch dairy-free gluten-free low-fat low-sodium nut-free soy-free vegan vegetarian vegetables quinoa spring summer
Ingredients (1 artichoke)
- 1 artichoke
- 1 lemon wedge, plus additional for drizzling
- ½ cup cooked quinoa
- 1 small clove minced garlic
- 2 tsp very finely chopped Italian parsley
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- ½ tsp olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Preheat your oven to 400F. Prepare the artichokes using the method described above and rub the leaves with lemon to prevent discolouration. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the cooked quinoa, minced garlic, parsley, oregano, vinegar, and olive oil. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
After pulling the choke out of the artichoke and spreading out the leaves, use a spoon to stuff the center and spaces between the leaves with the quinoa mixture.
Place the artichoke in a oven-proof dish and fill it with enough boiling water to cover about 1 inch of the base. Drizzle a little extra lemon juice and olive oil over the artichoke, and bake for 45 minutes.
When the artichoke is fully cooked, you should be able to easily stick a knife down the center. Switch the oven to the broil setting and let the tops of the artichoke and stuffing turn golden. (This should only take 1-2 minutes.)
Remove the artichokes from the baking dish and drizzle with more lemon and a little white wine vinegar as desired. Serve warm.
See? Easy peasy! I like to drizzle a little extra lemon and white wine vinegar over the artichoke before eating it, just to give it a little more moisture. You can do the civilized thing and kife-and-fork this one, or just pull the leaves out with your fingers and scoop up some of the quinoa filling in the process. Delish!
So tell me…
- Are you an artichoke fan? How do you like to enjoy them?
- What’s one kitchen task or cooking project that intimidates you?