Our traditional Thanksgiving eve dinner is stuffed artichokes and bagna cauda. Stuffed artichokes are simple to make so they are a perfect dinner when you are pressed for time.
Italian style breadcrumsb
Artichokes are easy, but they will brown right away due to oxidation after being cut. To prevent this, soak them for a few minutes in water with a few tablespoons of lemon juice. The acid will prevent browning once you cut the artichoke.
I cut the stems off of the artichokes and the top. Try to make them flat so they will sit well for steaming. Remove any bottom leaves that are not going to be stuffed. Then I pre-cook them for a few minutes in the microwave on high. This will soften them up a bit and make them a little easier to work with. Then I trim off the spines from the tip of each leaf. I cut about 1/4 of the leave off.
Mix your stuffing ingredients. I basically use a ratio of 3 parts italian – style breadcrumbs (I do not think panko style work well here and just go with the finely ground stuff) to 1 part of romano cheese.
Taste the stuffing for seasoning. Add salt and/or pepper if needed. Make sure you like the taste of the filling because it is not going to get better during cooking. If it is not good now, it never will be. The bottom line, it must be good before it goes into the artichoke.
With a teaspoon, start to fill the leaves in of the artichokes. Pull out the leaf a little bit to help the process but do not overfill the leaves. If you put too much stuffing in, they just do not steam well.
Once filled, I put them in a steamer and drizzle them lightly with olive oil. Steam them for about 45 minutes to an hour or until the leaves pull away easily.