Today's artichoke effort came about because my son K read a Pinky Dinky Doo book that featured the interesting-looking veggie and decided he needed to try it. Poor hubby got sent out last night to find a couple (he tried three stores) and I scoured around for recipes. Serendipitously, friend Aparna mailed me an Italian recipe book that gave me a couple of ideas and the following was the result.
Two medium sized artichokes
Half pound minced turkey
Pinch of turmeric, garam masala and chilli powder
Two teaspoons diced garlic
Pasta sauce (one medium bottle)
- I prepped the stuffing as I normally would, i.e., with an Indian twist.... I started by frying diced onions till golden, mixing in the diced tomato, and when it all starts simmering, mix in the minced turkey and cook till the mix is dry.
- Cool the mix, then mix in one egg so the stuffing hangs together.
- Start prepping the artichoke. This means the following:
- Slice the stem off, being careful not to cut into the artichoke flower
- Pull off the outer bracts (the "petals" as the kids called them) till you get to the softer bracts
- Chop the top of the floweret, so it has a stright edge on the top. Nip off the tips of the bracts that still have tips
- Open out the flowerette, till you get to the central core. Gauge the tenderness of the central bracts, but I found that the center has to go. It's pretty sharp and hard
- Having effectively created a cup for the stuffing, it's best to run water through the flowerettes, then squeeze lemon juice over them - this prevents discoloration
- Put in the stuffing into the artichoke "cups", patting it down nicely so it's packed in well (the kids loved doing this)
- Beat the extra egg, and dip the top of the stuffing and the encircling edges of the artichoke bracts in it. Then dip it in the bread crumbs (dad loved doing this!)
- In a large pan, heat oil, then put the srtichokes face-down (stuffing side down) in the oil so it fries nicely. Once the tops are brown, take them off and cool
- Start the sauce: fry the garlic and onion and pour in the pasta sauce, and bring to a simmer
- Put the two artichokes in a pot, pour the sauce around them and cook on a medium flame for about 40 minutes (that's right!!)
This was a complex job, but tactile and hence lots of fun for the kids. The unique look and feel also made this an interesting eating experience for the kiddies. They loved the stuffing, and liked the bite and pull technique needed to get the flesh off the bracts. It reminded them of the Muringa (also called drum-sticks in India) that I use in my sambars!