Stuffed artichoke

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What I like about having my own blog, is that it sometimes forces me to try out new ingredients, like for instance artichokes. I had never eaten artichoke before in my life and I always thought it was something I’d never like but I liked it so much that I’m now going to be eating it a lot more. Obviously there are numerous ways to eat or use artichokes, you can either buy a whole artichoke and do the work yourself, or you can buy artichoke hearts all ready to go. For my very first artichoke experience and recipe, I decided to buy a whole artichoke and stuff it with a delicious couscous mixture. It was a bit of a risk since I didn’t know what it was going to taste like and I didn’t even know how to eat it, but it paid of in the end and I’m very pleased I can now add another type of food on my list of things I’ve eaten and liked.

Serves: 2 people

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 artichoke
  • 100g couscous
  • 175g mushrooms
  • handful of rocket salad
  • olive oil
  • one cube of vegetable broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed

Preparation

This stuffed artichoke does require some work so roll up your sleeves and let’s get going! First up is preparing the artichoke to be cooked in some water. Cut of the stem of the artichoke so it can sit flat, next up is cutting off the top part of the artichoke (around 2,5 – 3,5 cm) and use scissors to cut of the sharp pointy tips of the remaining leaves (see photo below for the result). Now that this part is done, we can get some water boiling. To add some extra flavour to the artichoke, we’re going to add vegetable broth and some bay leaves. Put the artichoke (standing up) in once the water is boiling and let it cook for about 20-25 minutes, until the leaves can be easily pulled back to put the stuffing in.

While the artichoke is cooking, you can prepare the stuffing, which is the easiest part of this recipe. Chop up the onion finely and cut up the mushrooms into small pieces as well. Heat up some olive oil in a pan and add the onion, mushrooms and garlic and cook them for 5 minutes at medium-high heat. Heat up the couscous according to instructions on the package, all that mine needed was just some hot water and that’s it. Stir the mushroom, onion and garlic into the couscous once it’s done and tear up the rocket salad and add it as well.

By now your artichoke should be about done so pre-heat your oven at 200°C. Now we’ve arrived at the tricky part: stuffing the artichoke. First thing you got to do is pull out the leaves in the middle (the red/pink center from before), next up you have to take a spoon and scoop out the hairy fibers at the bottom of the center you just pulled out. Be careful when you do this cause you don’t want to end up scooping out the heart of the artichoke, which is underneath those fibers and is the most delicious part of the artichoke. Once all those hairs are removed, you can start filling the artichoke, fill the center and softly pull back the other leaves to fill all the other layers as well. Put the artichoke on a baking tray and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes, until the artichoke is soft.

Now how do you eat this thing? Easy! Pull out a leave with some stuffing on top and scape it along your teeth. Don’t put the leave in your mouth and eat it! It will not taste good, since the only good part on the leave is at the bottom (which was attached to the heart). Here’s a little picture that might be able to shed some light on how to eat it: how to eat an artichoke. Once you get to the heart, you can chop it up in pieces and eat it along with the remaining stuffing.

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