Turkish Braised Artichoke Hearts with Peas, Carrots, & Dill
One of the many reasons why I love my mother and grandmother’s recipes is because Turks have a knack for not wasting anything in the kitchen. All parts of flora and fauna are used, which not only reduce waste but also spark creativity and enhance flavour.
Artichokes are a hearty example of that as not only the leaves and the hearts of the artichoke are consumed but also the bottom of the vegetable. The recipe here, called Zeytinyağlı Enginar was one of my favourite dishes growing up. I find the American concept of children hating vegetables so fascinating because having grow up with unique dishes like this, I never had an inkling of hate towards the diversity of plants.
Looking at it retrospectively and comparatively since I moved to the U.S. at age ten, I assume it’s because children here have a very narrow understanding & palate towards vegetables: broccoli, salad, carrots, peas, and potatoes. Some of these are used in this recipe here, which might make it a fun recipe to try with your children.
Note: Artichoke bottoms are readily available in any Middle Eastern, Asian, or specialty store alongside some conventional green grocer in the froze section. If you can’t find the bottoms already prepared frozen, then follow the instructions below.
6 large artichokes
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1 medium Idaho potato or Japanese sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
Juice of 1 lemon
half a bunch of fresh dill weed, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Arrange your artichoke bottoms with the hollow side down in the bottom of a large saucepan. Add the chopped onions, cubed carrots, potatoes, peas, coconut sugar, salt, and pepper. Add enough water to the pan to cover the bottoms by about one-half inch.
Cover the saucepan and turn it on high, bring to a boil, then reduce to low to cook gently for about 15 minutes or until the artichokes are tender when pierced with a knife.
3. When ready, take off heat and let it cool for 15 minutes before drizzling with the lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle the chopped sprigs of dill weed on the top.
4. Refrigerate for about two hours before serving cold.
Trimming Your Artichokes
To begin, you should have a sturdy, sharp knife with a fairly short blade and a clean pair of gardening gloves to protect your hands from the thorns on the end of each leaf.
First, remove all the leaves by hand. Then, use your knife to remove the soft inner leaves and the "choke" in a circular motion as if you were peeling an apple.
You can cut off the stems, or for a decorative touch, you can peel then and cut them all about the same length at about two inches long. Also use your knife to trim neatly around the edges and remove the leaves from the bottom.