I had made out my menus for the week and then WHAM the new sale ads came from my local stores. There are 3 stores all within 5 miles which makes it soooooooooo easy to make a list for each and get the best sales. Then I walked in to my favorite one and saw these as an unadvertised special. My taste buds became instantly alert and drooling as my mind was saying be careful they have been so expensive lately. Some stores have actually been charging up to $5 for a medium size artichoke. So when I read the sign for these extra large babies and saw 2/$3 I quickly amended my menus to include these babies.

The first night we had Shrimp Scampi and I kept the leftover scampi drippings and heart from the first artichoke we steamed to use as a base for the soup. I was afraid that because they were sooooooooooooo large they would be flavorless and tough, but it was just the opposite, they had more flavor than I can remember in a long time. Now I have a sneaky suspicion that many restaurants add a touch of food color as mine turned out a very pale green.

So for tonight, we’re having:

6 large artichokes
1 Vidalia onion, diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
Juice of 1 large lemon (3 tablespoons)
2 + 1 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup long grain rice*optional
1 cup heavy cream

  • Prepare the artichokes for steaming: Remove and discard tough outer leaves of the artichokes.
  • Bring 1-2″ of water to boil in a pot large enough for all the artichokes. Add 2 cloves minced garlic, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, and oil. Place artichokes on steaming apparatus in pot, cover tightly, and steam 45 minutes or so.
  • Remove artichokes and allow them to cool sufficiently to be handled.
  • Scrape the tender artichoke “meat” from the inside of each leaf (I use a heavy knife for this). If the steamed artichokes are particularly tender, you may be able to dispense with the scraping and just cut off the top portions of the leaves.
  • Puree the artichoke “meat” and artichoke hearts with the onion, 1 clove minced garlic and chicken stock.
  • Add rice and the final tablespoon of lemon juice.
  • Simmer over low heat for about 1 hour.
  • Add cream, adjust salt and pepper, and serve.
  • Add a dollop of sour cream and garnish with chives or parsley.

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