Mom’s Stuffed Artichokes

Stuffed artichokes grace my parents’ dining room table on almost every major holiday, as well as special dinners and parties in between. My parents even have a specific platter for them, a delicately-painted ceramic plate with indentations for eight of these green globes, inherited from my Sicilian grandmother. Thanks to my Southern Italian mother and her formidable artichoke-related skills, my family has eaten more of these spindly vegetables than I can count. We are addicted to artichokes.

chokes_pre

Despite my love for my mother’s stuffed artichokes, I had never attempted to make them until a few weeks ago, when artichokes were actually in season. Jim and I were having two friends over for dinner, and it was time to put Mom’s recipe to the test. I picked up my cell phone, scrolled down to my parents’ number, and pressed the call button.

“Um, hi, Mom? Do you have a sec? How do you make your stuffed artichokes? Are they difficult?” I asked. “And will they be ready by 8 o’clock?”

And so began a half hour or so of phone calls. We talked about her ingredients for the stuffing (breadcrumbs, parsley, and Parmesan cheese are the main components); measurements (“I don’t know, I always just eyeball it”); and cooking time (“Not less than 40 minutes”). I also learned that her stuffed artichokes are steamed, not baked, and that they are best served at room temperature. Too much parsley is never a problem, and if I felt like mixing things up I could add a bit of prosciutto to the basic stuffing. I hung up the phone after our third call, started trimming the chokes, and hoped that some of Mom’s artichoke skills had been transmitted to me in the womb.

chokes_after

For my first attempt, the chokes were a simple and luxurious hit, especially since I had guessed most of the measurements for the ingredients. The moist, flavored breadcrumbs complemented the silky leaves with every bite. As I scraped each leaf with my teeth and made my way down to the choke at the center, I wondered how they compared to my mother’s. Maybe I did inherit some of her artichoke-related gifts after all. 

Recipe for Mom’s Stuffed Artichokes

  • 4 medium artichokes
  • 3/4 – 1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs (store-bought are fine for this recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fresh, finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the stuffing: Mix the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, garlic powder, and a bit of salt and pepper together in a bowl. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and mix together. Set aside.

Lay each artichoke on its side and cut off the pointy tops with a sharp knife. Cut off the artichoke stems and peel them. Set aside. After cutting off the stems, your artichokes should be able to sit on their flat bottoms. Tear off the tough outer leaves at the base of each choke. With a pair of scissors, cut off the pointy tops of the remaining outer leaves. (If you work quickly, you don’t need to set each artichoke aside in lemon-infused water.)

Working from the center of each artichoke towards the outer leaves, start stretching the leaves out a bit, to create more space between them. Stuff the breadcrumb mixture in between as many leaves as possible. Fill the openings with as much stuffing as possible. 

Sit the 4 artichokes and their stems in a high-sided sauté pan or large pot. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over the artichokes. Add about 1/4 cup water—enough to cover the bottom of the pan and a bit more—to the pot, add the lemons, and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 40 minutes, adding water as necessary if the pot dries out. The artichokes are done when their color has changed to a less vibrant green and you can easily pull their leaves out.

You can keep these artichokes and their stems on a platter on the stovetop until you are ready to serve them that day. Serves 4. Enjoy!

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13 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Michele said,

    These look very much like my mom’s. She makes them almost exactly the same way. I’ve learned a few things from other cooks and started adding some other things to my artichokes so they are slightly different from my mom’s. I love artichokes and I can even remember the first time I had one! I love this post!

    • 2

      Christina said,

      Hi Michele-I’ve seen many different variations for stuffed artichokes as well. Some people add ingredients like pine nuts and olives to the stuffing, and I’ve seen recipes that include sausage and prosciutto as well. I think the stuffing is very versatile. Maybe once I’ve mastered my mom’s version I’ll try adding some new ingredients to the mix. I’m glad you liked the post. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. 3

    Ashley said,

    Mmm, another use for sausage! We like your Pinucc’ recipes. Give us more!

    • 4

      Christina said,

      Ashley–I’ve talked with Mom about reviving the Cooking with Mom series this summer. We just need to decide which family food secrets we’re willing to share with the public! Stay tuned!

  3. 5

    Chad said,

    I think artichokes are like crawfish. So very good, but not enough bang for the buck; Lots of work for just a morsel of reward, scraped by the skin of the teeth. Perhaps sausage is the answer. Mmmmm sausage. Or maybe I’m not finding the right chokes. Any hints for finding a choke with a bit of substance?

    • 6

      Christina said,

      Hmmm…I don’t have any hints for finding fresh chokes with a lot of substance. Just try to find them when they are in season.

      However, if you are willing to work with just artichoke hearts, my family and I are big fans of frozen artichoke hearts, especially when compared to the canned ones. They eliminate a lot of the labor involved with cooking artichokes, and they usually aren’t sour or too soggy like the canned ones are. Trader Joe’s has them, as do many grocery stores.

      I do have to say that these stuffed chokes didn’t require a lot of effort. And the sausage aspect requires some investigation. Let me know when you have tried it!

  4. 7

    Nicki Goldstein said,

    “Eyeball it!” I would have been crushed if your mom had a written recipe. It would have changed my whole worldview…LOL

  5. 9

    Karen said,

    Having grown up in New Orleans (where you can find stuffed artichokes ready made in sandwich shops and other such places) I have enjoyed them countless times, both home made and bought ready made.

    The best version I have had had anchovies and garlic (to taste) in the stuffing. You don’t taste the anchovies, they melt away (chop them fine) and leave a yummy, salty background to the stuffing.

    • 10

      Christina said,

      Hi Karen–Anchovies and garlic with artichokes sounds heavenly. My husband and I have been cooking more with anchovies in the past year or two, so I’ll have to try this stuffing next time. Thanks for the tip!

  6. 11

    Katie said,

    YUM! I am from New Orleans as well and have been craving stuffed artichokes! I just stumbled across this while looking for a recipe similar to my Grandma’s (hers is the same, with no actual measurements…”a saucer full of cheese, a handful of parsley…)

    One thing that she does a little differently is to add hard boiled eggs to the mixture and use the food processor to mix everything together. It’s usually one egg per artichoke, I think. You can’t taste it, it just helps to bind the mixture together.

    Thank you for the recipe, it’s the closest one that I have found!

    • 12

      Christina said,

      Hi Katie! Adding a hard-boiled egg to the mix sounds so interesting to me; I have never heard of this before. I’ll have to try it one day! Thanks so much for your comment, and I hope you enjoy the recipe!

      • 13

        Katie said,

        Definitely try it out if you get a chance; you really cannot taste the egg. Our tradition has always been to eat these on Good Friday, so maybe my Grandma included them so that we could get a little protein on a meatless day. Not sure, but it works for me! ;-)

        My Dad just told me that I was not supposed to use a food processor. If you use your hands, you can feel the texture of the mixture, etc..


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