I married an Italian! My husband talked about stuffed artichokes his mother use to make all the time. Well, being the Southern gal, I had never heard of such thing so when his sister came in...she took me step by step (no recipe)and was gracious enough to help me learn this amazing Classic country recipe since his Mother was no longer with us.
We make them whenever large artichokes are in season! Once you get the hang of it - you won't even need a recipe. Tweek it to fit your garlic or Cheese taste and make it your own.
To eat it, pull leaf off, turn upside down and scrape between teeth!
1Prepare a large bowl or pan for artichoke soak. Put water and about 1 TB. lemon juice in bowl or pan. Set aside. It should be able to hold 4 artichokes. I use a LARGE salad bowl.
2Cut off thick stems of artichoke so it can stand on its own (also cut off ragged bottom of stem). Trim hard outer layer of stem off and throw away. Chop your stem in fine pieces and put aside. Cut off top of artichoke and trim off the edges of the leaves (the prickly parts) with kitchen shears. With artichoke on plate, open artichoke up gently by sticking your thumbs in the middle of each layer and push out a bit. Do this gently as not to break the leaves. It will resemble a flower. After each artichoke is prepared, drop it in the lemon water so it won’t brown.
3Mix Bread crumbs, garlic, Parmesan cheese, artichoke stem pieces, parsley, salt and pepper in a large cake mixing bowl. Add oil (more or less what I posted) to mixture until the mixture starts to hold together a bit (like streusel topping) and ball up a little when you squeeze it. I do this part with clean hands to FEEL the consistency. When this is done - retrieve an artichoke from lemon water and shake excess water off before stuffing it.
4Set one artichoke in bowl with bread crumb mixture and start stuffing the filling between each leaf, starting on the outside, working your way toward the middle. Stuff the meatiest leaves, the last ¼ towards the middle doesn’t really need the stuffing. After all the artichokes are stuffed, you can put any extra stuffing on top to fill in the cracks and make it even. Place the artichokes in a very wide deep cooking pot. You want the artichokes to JUST fit in the pan, crowded (they hold up better this way) and able to cover with a pot lid. Fill skillet or pot with water 1 to 2 inches up the side of the artichoke. Drizzle tops of artichokes with good olive oil. Partially cover the pan with lid leaving ½ or 1 inch open to let some steam out and bring to boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer. The artichokes will take at least 1 hour to cook and up to 2 hours depending on the size of the artichokes. Keep a small pitcher of water close by to refill the water if it gets too low. If you don’t, the water will steam out and burn the artichokes.
5It will be ready when you are able to easily pull a leaf from the center out and the artichoke is very tender.
I serve with melted butter and lemon slices or a mixture of:1/2 c. Sour Cream, 1 TB Horseradish, ½ teas. Lemon Pepper, and 1 TB. Lemon juice.