When I was little, I remember artichokes being one of those things that we almost never had because they were kind of expensive, hard to prepare/eat, and you really don’t get a lot of edible parts. They weren’t ideal for a family of six, with four boys well on their way to being full-blown carnivores. TBH I was the absolute *worst* at eating my veggies when I was little. It was the rule in our house that if there was something you didn’t like, you would take a “courtesy bite” and eat it without saying anything. Belligerent little Jeremiah though, would sit at the table with my courtesy bite untouched and scowl at my mom, knowing that I wasn’t excused until my plate was clear. After a million tries of her getting me to eat veggies and other assorted “icky things,” something finally clicked – I love all of the veggies now!
Getting away from what I thought was childhood torture and moving back to the star of this post, it turns out that artichokes can be kind of expensive, so definitely make sure that you get them on sale. However, they can actually be surprisingly easy to prepare. The secret? Braising. It’s true that snipping off the little spiky ends can be tedious, and that removing the hairy part above the heart can be tricky… but it’s all worth it when you braise those suckers in white wine, garlic, shallots, and fresh herbs. Sooo worth it. *drooling all over the keyboard*
There are a few different kind of artichokes out there that you can buy, so it’s important to figure out which ones you have before you start cooking them – they all take different amounts of time and liquid. If you are using the pretty standard ones we usually get at grocery stores like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, then they are most likely globe artichokes. Meaty leaves and a buttery heart make for a very popular artichoke. However, they still need about 35-40 minutes to get really tender and absorb all of that delicious flavor from the sauce.
Lemon and Herb Braised Artichokes
- 2 globe artichokes
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 large shallot, cut into thin rounds
- 2 large cloves garlic, smashed
- Juice and zest from half a lemon
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 bay leaves – or – 4 mandarin orange leaves
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 cup chicken stock or water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse artichokes under running water to loosen any dirt. Using shears, snip the top 1/4″ or so off of the leaves and discard the spike. Continue to remove all of the spikes, and then quarter each artichoke. Rub cut ends with a lemon to prevent browning. With a spoon, scoop out the small hairy section right above the heart and discard. rub area with lemon, and place in a bowl with water and lemon juice to rest while preparing other artichoke quarters. Repeat with remaining artichoke, and set aside.
- In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat and add shallots and garlic. Saute for a few minutes, reducing heat if needed to ensure garlic doesn’t burn. Add lemon juice and zest, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves or mandarin leaves if using, and white wine. Simmer for a few minutes to let flavors meld.
- Add artichokes in a single layer, cut side down, and add enough chicken stock so the artichokes are halfway submerged.Cover and keep at simmer for 20 minutes, checking halfway to check water level. Add more water or chicken stock if necessary. After 20 minutes, flip artichokes so that the other cut side is down, and spoon braising liquid over the top. Cover again, and simmer for another 15-20 minutes, depending on the size and type of your artichokes.
- Remove from dutch oven and set aside; bring liquid to a boil and reduce until slightly thicker. Remove herbs / bay leaves and discard. once reduced, spoon over artichokes and serve while still warm.
Notes and Variations
This is a really easy recipe to change if you would like it to be vegan by simply using water instead of stock and omitting the butter.
My personal favorite, is adding some freshly grated parmesan cheese right on top and dipping the leaves into mayonnaise mixed with a little balsamic vinegar, It sounds gross, I know, but you’ve got to trust me – the creamy mayonnaise mixed with the sharp and savory bite of the vinegar really is a match made in heaven.
Pro tip: When buying artichokes, try to look for some that still have some of the leaves closed up at the top. The younger the artichoke, the tighter the leaves and the fresher the taste. That being said, when an artichoke goes through a frost, it causes the veggie to ripen rapidly. So don’t be turned off by some that look a little less than perfect – they’ll probably taste better.