May 17, 2012

Diveats - Stuffed Artichoke Halves

Last night I made up my own recipe.  And it made feel very proud!

I present to you -
Stuffed Artichoke Halves w/ Cream Cheese, Candied Onions, Toasted Pecans, and Honey Stuffing

I served it alongside chicken with pesto and french bread with bruschetta on top (light on each because they are such intense flavors and because pesto is alarmingly fattening).  I was worried the sweetness of the artichoke filling wouldn't go with the bold Italian flavors of my meat and bread toppings, but it went together pretty well.

I do think it would have gone better with more subtle flavor of meat, perhaps a pork chop or chicken with no topping. 

I never, ever use honey because a) I don't love it and b) it's super sugary.  But we got a cute little jar as a wedding favor recently so I thought this would be a great chance to pop it open. 

Here's how I made it:

1) Squeeze the juice of two lemons in a large pot of boiling water.  After trimming the tops off of the leaves and cutting off the rough exterior of the stem, add the artichoke (I just used one and split it with my main squeeze), and boil for about 15-20 minutes, or until you can stick a fork in the vegetable and it go in and out with ease.

2) Drain the artichoke upside down and cool slightly until you are able to handle it.  Then cut if in half.  Using a paring knife, cut the purple, hairy, and rough part in the center of the artichoke then scoop out with a spoon.

3) For the filling - I combined 1/8-1/4 cup of caramelized red onions, 2 Tablespoons of dry roasted pecan pieces, 1 Tablespoon of plain breadcrumbs for body, 1/4 cup of light, room temperature cream cheese, and a large drizzle of honey.  I combined all these ingredients together and filled each artichoke half with as much of the mixture as could fit.

4) Bake artichokes with filling inside at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes until the mixture is warm and gooey.

Serve with whatever you like or eat plain!  The thing I love about this dish is the amount of possibility.  You could stuff an artichoke half with pizza-like fillings, sharp cheeses and meats, onions, nuts, oh my!  There are so many options. 

My picture above doesn't do it justice, but when prepared right the artichoke sure can be a beautiful, elegant thing!

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