Friday, September 23, 2011

Stuffed Artichokes, Nona Style

 I love the fall weather and the foods that get associated with the cooler weather. Meals become a little more hearty, filling us up and are just so satisfying. This is like Italian Soul Food! The flavors hit a spot that you just fall in love with, making your soul smile.
My mother would make these artichokes  all the time. She would serve them as a side dish, which was absolutely crazy. They are a meal! Serve them with a fresh green salad, a loaf of Italian Bread and you're done!
When my son John was in 5th grade they were having a discussion on food. His teacher mentioned that she loved artichokes. Some of the kids in the class didn't even know what an artichoke was. John, proudly raised his hand and told his teacher that I made them stuffed with sausage. Another student raised his hand and said his mother makes them and serves them with Russian dressing! HMPF! With a light in her eyes she turned to John  and said, "I would love to taste those!"  That was the start of lovely parent teacher conference's that would be held in my kitchen.
Joan didn't finish the whole artichoke, however she did ask to bring the rest of it home. I was more that willing to comply!

Would you like to make these? Here's what you will need.
Sweet Italian Sausage
Chop meat
onion - chopped fine
garlic - chopped fine
fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
grated Italian cheese ( use what you like)
a small handful of seasoned bread crumbs
water and or chicken stock

Make a mixture with all the above ingredients,  like you were making a meatloaf or a meatball mixture.

Clean your artichokes, I cut the pointy tops off and clean up the outer leaves.  I also cut the bottom of the artichoke to make sure that it will sit up. After I've cleaned up the artichokes I start to gently manipulate the leaves to get them ready to stuff.  I pack them with the meat mixture starting on the inside working my way out. Once they are all stuffed I like to braise them on the top of the stove. I add chicken stock to the pot, covering about an inch of the bottom of the artichoke, a bay leaf and half a lemon. Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat, cover and let simmer until the meat is cooked through and the artichokes are tender. I will just pull on an inner leaf and if it comes out easily it's done. I usually cook these for about an hour, checking on them during the cooking process to make sure all the liquid does not steam out. If you need to add more liquid, add a little bit of water.

When they are done they will look something like this!

Spoon some of the sauce that's in the pot over the artichoke and add some fresh chopped parsley to the top and enjoy!

Buon Appetito

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