Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Artichokes
Have you ever had stuffed peppers or tomatoes? If so, then you know just how wonderful stuffing a vegetable can be. But have you ever thought of stuffing artichokes? While it may take a little prep work to get them stuffed, they can provide a great meal. Try this recipe for some cheese and bacon stuffed artichokes the next time you are feeling a little adventurous. It is simply delicious.
- 2 artichokes, stems trimmed and small outer leaves removed
- 1 cup of soft bread crumbs
- 5 slices chopped thick-cut bacon
- 2 shallots chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped oregano
- 1/2 cup crumbled cheese (your choice, chevere, mozzarella, gouda, etc.)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Prep the artichokes. Place a large pot of water on your stove, and turn it on high. While the water is heating to a boil, level the base of the artichokes by cutting straight across them with a sharp knife. Then you need to use some kitchen shears to trim the sharp tips from the artichoke leaves. With a sharp kitchen knife slice the top of the artichoke off in a straight line, removing about 1 inch of the artichoke.
- Boil the artichokes. Place the prepared artichokes into the boiling pot of water, and allow them to simmer. Leave the artichokes to simmer for at least 5 minutes but no longer than 8 minutes, or until the base of the artichokes have become tender. Remove them from the heat, turn off the stove, and drain well. Set aside the artichokes to cool.
- Make the stuffing. While you begin to make your stuffing, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium sized skillet toast your breadcrumbs over medium-high heat for about two minutes, or until they have become lightly browned. Be sure that you are stirring often, to avoid scorching the bread. Once the breadcrumbs are browned, set them aside. Cook your chopped bacon in the same skillet over medium heat, until the bacon bits have become crisp, and then add the shallots and garlic. Cook the bacon, shallots and garlic for about 3 minutes. After that time has passed stir in the parsley, cheese, cayenne, oregano, and breadcrumbs and remove the mixture from the heat.
- Stuff and cook the artichokes. Carefully pull the leaves of the artichoke open around the center of the artichoke. Remove those inner purple leaves, and use a melon baller, or small ice cream scoop to remove the fuzzy "choke" in the center of the artichoke. Spoon the stuffing mix into the center of the artichokes, and between the leaves. Close the leaves as much as you can, and then place the artichokes into an 8 inch baking pan. Lightly drizzle the artichokes with the olive oil, and add about 1/2 inch of water. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, and then bake in your preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the stuffing is hot.
Once you have finished baking the artichokes, remove them from the oven, and serve! This recipe will serve 6 people, though it can be adjusted to serve more or less. Each stuffed artichoke will feed roughly 3 people, so adjust as necessary to fit your needs.