Judge not a book by its cover and judge not an artichoke by its spiny green-gray coat. Artichokes may be the most porcupine-like of vegetables, but crack their tough exterior with boiling and you’ll find a sweet, nutrient-rich heart inside. Below – three artichoke recipes to suit any kitchen disposition, from the purist (you’ll never get your artichokes out of a can, by gum!) to the savvy shortcut taker.

Grilled Artichokes

4 – 6 large artichokes
4 – 6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Lemon wedges

1. Preheat a grill to medium.
2. Trim artichokes.
3. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Cook artichokes in boiling water about 20 minutes until outer leaves pull away easily.
4. Drain artichokes and rinse in cold water.
5. Cut artichokes in half lengthwise. Brush with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
6. Grill artichokes for about 7-10 minutes until browned.
7. Coat artichokes liberally with more olive oil. Serve with salt and lemon wedges.

Easy Chilled Artichoke Soup

2 (14-ounce) can plain artichoke hearts, drained
1 (10-ounce) can cream of potato soup
2 shallots, minced
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

1. Drain artichokes and coarsely chop. Combine in food processor with potato soup, shallots, garlic, and 1 cup of the vegetable stock. Process until smooth.
2. Pour into large bowl and add remaining ingredients; stir well. Cover and chill until flavors are blended, about 4-6 hours. Garnish with sour cream and fresh dill, if desired.

Garlic Chicken with Artichokes
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 (8 or 9 oz pkg) frozen artichoke hearts
1 red sweet pepper, cut into strips
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp. quick-cooking tapioca
2 tsp. crushed, dried Rosemary
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs. skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves, or thighs
4 cups already-prepared hot cooked rice, (white or brown)

1. In a small skillet, cook onion and garlic in hot oil over medium heat for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. In a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker, combine garlic mix, frozen artichoke hearts, red sweet pepper, broth, tapioca, rosemary, lemon peel, and black pepper.
2. Add chicken, spoon some of the artichoke mix over chicken. Cover, cook on low-heat setting for 6-7 hours, or on high for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Serve with rice.

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