An exquisite combination of flavors — you’ve never had artichokes like this.
The artichokes are flavorful enough that they really don’t need any butter. The juice from the cherries combines with the broth to create a perfectly delicious dipping sauce.
Recipe:Makes 2 artichokes
Prep: 30 minutes
Total time: 1.5 hours
Artichokes and Stuffing
- Artichokes, 2 medium
- Walnuts, 1/2 cup, toasted
- Ricotta, 1 cup
- Coffee, freshly ground, pinch or two
- Pepper and nutmeg, pinch each
- Broth reserved from reconstituting porcini mushrooms, or regular mushroom broth, 2 cups
- Garlic, 3 cloves, chopped
- Liquid smoke, 1 teaspoon
- Sherry, 2 tablespoons
- Cinnamon, paprika, chili powder and pepper, about 1/2 teaspoon each
Caramelized Cherry Compote
- Cherries, halved and pitted, about 30
- Peach, 1 small, pitted and sliced
- Brown sugar, 1/2 cup
- Butter, 3 tablespoons
- Mango or orange juice, 1 tablespoon
Herb Butter (Optional)
- Butter, 3 tablespoons
- Parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, fennel seeds, or similar – pinch each
Trim the tops and bottoms off the artichokes to remove the spines and allow them to sit flat. Pull out the thin reddish leaves of the center, and scrape out the fuzzy fibers below those leaves with a teaspoon or your thumbnail.
Grind the toasted walnuts in a coffee grinder, a blender, or similar. Avoid blending them too much, or you’ll wind up with walnut butter.
Stir the walnuts into the ricotta. Add the coffee and the spices. Using a spoon or your fingers, stuff about 1/4 cup of the ricotta mixture into the center of the artichokes, then put a pea-sized amount inside each leaf, stopping when you reach the bottom layer of leaves, as these will be submerged in broth.
Pour the ingredients for the broth into a large pot with a lid. Set the artichokes in the pot as well. Cover the pot with a lid. Cook over low heat (about 2.5 on a scale of 1 to 10) for 1 hour.
In the last 15 minutes, begin preparing the cherries and the butter. Put all the ingredients for the caramelized cherries in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir frequently, but not constantly. The cherries will soften, releasing a liquid that will combine with the sugar and thicken considerably as it bubbles.
Meanwhile, melt the butter with the herbs over low heat in a small saucepan. Cook for a few minutes to release the flavor of the herbs; then remove from heat and pour into a small bowl (or two).
When the artichokes’ leaves are deep greenish-brown, remove them from the pot and set each on a plate. Spoon cherries around each artichoke, and drizzle the artichokes with the cherry-liquid. Top with a few toasted walnuts, and serve with the bowl of melted butter, if desired.