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Braised Artichoke Hearts - a recipe by Tara Vaughn-Hughes

Braised Artichoke Hearts

By Tara Vaughn-Hughes
Schumacher College Vegetarian Chef

The week after next, we are running our Soil to Supper short course, where participants will learn about the practicalities and principles of sustainable food production from the organic food movement pioneers, including Guy Watson of Riverford Farm. As part of this learning, participants on the course will be helping to pick and prepare the produce for their meals.

I’m especially excited about this, because it means that we are truly practicing a local, sustainable cooking approach. For the part of the course where I will be cooking with the students, I want to be somewhat strict and only use what we harvest from our garden but with the addition of basic pantry staples, like flour, eggs, butter etc.

Following my own rules for the course, the following recipe is what I would have made with the bounty of small artichokes that Jane and our gardeners harvested this week.

Braised Artichoke Hearts (adapted from a recipe in Verdura, by Viana La Place)

Serves 4-5 as a side dish

When artichokes are small, there’s not too much edible part in the leaves, so the usual method of steaming the vegetable whole and then pulling it apart leaf by leaf to eat it may seem disappointing. There are also some people who prefer not to have to work too hard when eating their dinner. This method of preparation satisfies both situations!

1 or 2 lemons for preparing the artichokes

10 small artichokes

¼ cup white wine

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup water

½ onion, thickly sliced

½ tsp black peppercorns

2 cloves

small handful of fresh thyme (you don’t have to remove the stems)

½ tsp salt

2 bay leaves


Pull off the leaves of the artichokes until you get to the pale green bit. Cut off the remaining leaves at the top of the artichoke, then pare off the tough bits around the stem and the base. To keep it from turning brown, rub the whole thing with lemon juice.  Cut the artichoke in half lengthwise and remove the choke. Rub with lemon juice and pop it into acidulated water (water with lemon squeezed into it). N.B. the artichokes will still taste fine if they have darkened, but they won’t be as pleasing to the eye.

Once all the artichokes are prepared, put them in a shallow pan with the remaining ingredients and simmer partially covered for 10-15 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the artichokes are just tender. If the liquid is still watery, remove the artichokes and reduce the liquid until it is a rich, delicious juice, which you can pour over the artichokes before serving.