Stuffed artichokes are a staple on many tables around the holidays; they’re delicious, and fun to share with others. They also make for a great vegetarian meal. My tomato and cheese stuffed artichokes are stuffed with a mixture of breadcrumbs, fresh herbs, cheese, and cooked cherry tomatoes and onion; they are steamed in a Dutch Oven filled with flavorful broth for the perfect, tender bite.
How to pick the right artichoke
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that this recipe for tomato and cheese stuffed artichokes took two attempts to get right. The stuffing was always delicious, and I didn’t change that during the second round (I’ll get to that later). The problem in the first round was the artichokes themselves.
The artichokes I chose initially were HUGE. I guess I had in my head that “the bigger, the better.” But they also weren’t quite “ready.” I ended up cooking them for two whole hours, and the leaves were falling off (indicating that they were cooked), but they never got tender or had any meat on them.
The second time around, I made sure to choose the right artichokes and I also changed my cooking method, to ensure they got as moist and tender as possible. When I bought the artichokes, I made sure they were on the small to medium side, rather than huge. Here is an article which shows you how to choose the right artichoke.
How to prep the artichokes for stuffing
When I am ready to make the artichokes, I prep them first. To prep them, I cut the stem off, leaving about 1/4″ flat stem for the artichoke to sit on. I also trim about 1″ off the top, using a serrated knife (it’s not an easy cut). This leaves the top of the artichokes nice and flat, easy to fan out and stuff later on.
The next step is to snip the leaves of the artichoke. I use my kitchen shears to trim them, so instead of being pointy, they are flat also.
Once this is all done, I fill a large mixing bowl with some water, and throw the artichokes in there to soak. I soak them for half an hour. I believe this was another key to the recipe being successful the second time. Soaking the artichokes allowed them to soften up a bit.
How to make the tomato and cheese stuffing
While the artichokes are soaking, it’s a great time to make the stuffing. To make the stuffing, just chop up an onion, half the cherry tomatoes, and mince the garlic.
In a frying pan over medium heat, add some olive oil spray, and add the onions and tomatoes with the salt. Cook this mixture for 10 minutes. The tomatoes will burst and release some of their juices, creating a nice moist mixture. After 10 minutes, add the garlic and cook for one minute.
In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, and fresh herbs. Then, add that mixture right into the tomato mixture, stirring to combine. The mixture will have the texture of wet sand.
How to stuff and cook the artichokes
Spread the artichoke out as much as possible, using your thumbs to separate the leaves from the center and creating a crevice for stuffing. It won’t be the easiest task, and it might be messy. Since the mixture is nice and moist, you can scoop it up with your hand and press it firmly into the top of the artichokes.
I cooked these artichokes in a Dutch oven. If you don’t have one, any large pot will do, but you will then have to transfer them into a baking dish for later on. The Dutch oven allows you to do this all in one pot.
Place the stuffed artichokes in the pot, making sure they are standing upright.
Combine 5 cups of water with 2 bouillon cubes to make a flavorful broth. Pour the broth inside the Dutch oven. The water should reach about halfway up the artichokes.
Put the Dutch oven over a flame and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium low and simmer for one hour.
After an hour, they should look like this. You can check to see if the artichokes are cooked earlier on (about 45 minutes in) by removing a leaf. If it falls off easily, they are probably fully cooked.
At this point, I place the Dutch oven, uncovered, into a preheated 400F oven for 15 minutes, just to get some color on the tops.
- Dutch Oven
- frying pan
- 4 artichokes
- 1 onion
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1/4 cup basil, fresh, chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley, fresh, chopped
- 2 bouillon cubes
- olive oil spray
Prepping the Artichokes
- Trim about 1" off the top of the artichokes to create a flat top, ideal for stuffing.
- Cut the stem off the artichokes, leaving a small stem 1/4" tall so that the artichokes can sit up straight.
- Snip the leaves of the artichokes so they are flat across, rather than pointed.
- Soak the prepped artichokes in a large mixing bowl of water for a half hour before you plan on cooking them.
Making the Stuffing
- In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, and fresh herbs.
- Chop the onion, half the tomatoes, and mince the garlic.
- Add olive oil spray to a frying pan, and put it over medium heat.
- Add the tomatoes, onion and the kosher salt, and cook for 10 minutes.
- The tomatoes will break down and start to release their juices.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until just fragrant.
- Add the breadcrumb mixture to the frying pan and stir to combine. The mixture will have the texture of wet sand.
Stuffing and Cooking the Artichokes
- Using your hands, spread the artichoke leaves as far apart as possible (starting from the center of the artichoke, making a crevice for stuffing).
- Add the stuffing to each artichoke; each artichoke should get about 3/4 cup of stuffing.
- Stand each stuffed artichoke upright in the Dutch oven.
- Combine 5 cups of water with the 2 bouillon cubes.
- Pour the water mixture into the Dutch oven (not on top of the artichokes). It should reach halfway up the artichokes.
- Cover the Dutch oven and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium low heat.
- Simmer on medium low heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour (depending on the size of your artichokes).
- You can check to see if the artichokes are cooked by pulling off a leaf easily.
- Once the artichokes are cooked, remove the lid and spray the tops with olive oil spray.
- Place the Dutch oven in a preheated 400F oven and cook for 15 minutes.
- Garnish with more fresh herbs, if desired.
- 2 WW points for 1 artichoke
- 1 WW point for 1/2 artichoke
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