Stuffed artichokes, Moroccan style
Our chef likes to 'stuff stuff,' and this recipe is just one example.
In my house, “stuffed stuff” means a plate of colorful vegetables stuffed with rice and ground meat, or sometimes a vegetarian version made of rice, honey and herbs. We like to eat stuffed eggplants, bell peppers, zucchini, squash and artichokes. Then there are leaves good for stuffing: vine, chard, and the big, flat leaves of a wild mallow.
Meantime, I was cruising around the supermarket yesterday, sizing up the frozen section and not finding anything very interesting in it. Then I saw frozen artichoke bottoms. I really love fresh artichokes. Frozen ones don’t compare. But I broke down and bought those bottoms because I also know how easy it is to stuff them.
This recipe looks like a lot of work because of the long list of ingredients, but just assemble everything ahead of time and it will go quickly.
- 14 frozen artichoke bottoms – the whole package: or 6 large, fresh ones, raw
- 2 tablespoons white rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup minced onion
- 8 oz. (1 cup) ground beef
- 2 large, minced garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 fresh, chopped tomatoes
- 2 sliced garlic cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
Boil the rice, uncovered, in 1 cup of boiling salted water, for 10 minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain. Put in a medium-sized bowl.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet, add onion and cook over medium-low heat for 4 or 5 minutes.
Add ground beef and sauté about 4 minutes or until all the meat has changed color. Take the skillet off the flame.
To the meat, add the minced garlic, cilantro, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and pepper. Mix well and add to rice. Mix the rice and meat well.
Sprinkle the artichoke bottoms with additional salt and pepper. Spoon stuffing into them. Spoon the remaining 1 tablespoon oil into a heavy pan or casserole and add the artichokes.
Add the chopped tomatoes, sliced garlic, turmeric, and a little salt, plus more pepper to taste.
Add 1 cup of water or stock or half water, half white wine to the pan. Bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for half an hour or until artichoke bottoms are tender. Serve this dish hot, with a little of the sauce and chopped tomatoes spooned over each artichoke.
There was about a half cup of stuffing left over. I had some fresh, brined vine leaves in the fridge – supermarkets sell them next to the olives and pickles. So I decided to stuff ten of them. When the artichokes were done, I lifted them out of the pan and put them away. To the sauce in the pan, I added a sprig of mint and the juice of 1/2 lemon, plus a tablespoon or so of good olive oil. I let that simmer and thicken while I stuffed the leaves. (Place 1 tablespoon filling at the stem end, shiny side of the leaf down, and roll the leaf up. Secure with a toothpick if needed.) They took another 40 minutes to cook, over medium-low heat. You can see the assembled result in the photo at the top of this recipe.
Adapted from Faye Levy’s "International Vegetable Cookbook."