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.
Stuffed artichokes, Moroccan stylePrint
- 14 frozen artichoke bottoms – the whole package: or 6 large, fresh ones, raw
- 2 tbsp white rice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ⅓ cup minced onion
- 8 oz (1 cup) ground beef
- 2 large, minced garlic cloves
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ tsp sweet paprika
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 4 fresh, chopped tomatoes
- 2 sliced garlic cloves
- ⅛ tsp 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.