Thursday, May 7, 2009

Stuffed Artichokes with Red Quinoa and Brillat-Savarin Cheese

My curiosity got the best of me again on my latest trip to the market. Wandering through the produce department consistently piques my interest more than any other part of the store. Placed at the end of one aisle was a display of vibrant California artichokes. Their magnetic pull drew me in like a woman walking by a shoestore... some forces are just too strong to fight. The artichoke's unique texture, boundless preparation options and appealing look makes these members of the thistle family an attractive produce prospect. I've done my fair share of consuming artichokes, but have never had the pleasure of preparing them.

Perhaps my naive enthusiasm got the best of me when I spotted these verdant veggies, because I had no idea how to choose a good artichoke. For the record, you should be able to cleanly snap off a petal when selecting an artichoke; flimsy petals that bend when pressed are old and lack moisture. They should be a bright, unblemished green without scratches, scrapes or punctures. Two lucky victims were chosen, and the wheels of artichoke preparation were put in motion. For those like myself uninitiated to the artichoke world, more useful information can be found here.

Stuffed peppers are a favorite dish of mine, so I thought I would take a stab at stuffed artichokes. Quinoa stuffed roasted peppers with boursin cheese, raisins and almonds are a creation that I have come to love, so I thought a variation on this would be tasty. A special thanks the kind folks at Nicole's Gourmet Foods in South Pasadena for their words of wisdom on a cheese selection for this dish this morning. Those of us in the area are fortunate to have this fantastic resource at our fingertips.

Red Quinoa and Brillat-Savarin Stuffed Artichokes

2 medium artichokes
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 lemon, juiced
1 Tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
8 oz red quinoa
16 oz chicken stock
2 scallions, chopped
3 oz Brillat-Savarin Cheese (or similar rich creamy cheese; boursin, brie etc..)
1/2 large red onion, diced
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan Romano cheese

Soak quinoa in warm water for 15 minutes. Rinse artichokes in running water for 1 minute each. Remove base petals that are small or discolored. Slice off stem close to the base. Boil 4 inches of water in a deep saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer and add artichokes, salt, pepper, lemon juice, tarragon and 2 diced garlic cloves. Cover and let simmer for 25-30 minutes, until petals near the middle can be easily pulled out. Transfer artichokes from pan to a baking rack, turning upside down to drain and cool. Rinse quinoa and pour chicken stock in small saucepan. Simmer on medium high heat and add rinsed quinoa. Cover and let simmer 25-30 minutes on medium heat. Add additional chicken stock if liquid boils off before its cooked. Add diced red onion, scallions, cheese, and 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan to cooked quinoa and thoroughly integrate. Separate layers of artichoke petals and place quinoa between them. Sprinkle artichoke with remaining Parmesan and bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

The petals pull out easily and much like chips scooping up a dip, each petal contains a perfect size tasty mouthful of the quinoa mixture.

Turns out I apparently don't have a green thumb when it comes to artichoke selection. Aside from that, these were savory and light, but suprisingly filling. The next batch will definately have the hearts hollowed out to allow for additional filling. Best of luck with your next artichoke adventure and have yourself a scumptious day.


penelope said...

Wow. This recipe sounds amazing! I have never officially prepared an artichoke, either. I'm inspired!

Laura said...

Thanks! Its nice when you go delve into the unknown and it turns out well :)

Steven said...

Laura, I'll admit to being intimidated by tackling an artichoke in this way as well so thanks for the thorough instructions!

Micaella Lopez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Micaella Lopez said...

This looks fantastic! I just cooked up a huge pot of quinoa.

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