Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Discovering artichokes... at least the frozen vartiety for now!

Well, we can finally cross another veggie off our "untried" list after our dinner tonight. It's not like it was some exotic vegetable or anything... but neither of us had ever had it before - Artichokes! When we were at the market this weekend, I had to slyly hide them in the cart... if Jeff would have seen them, I'm sure he would have vetoed the idea of using them before I even got a chance.

As the rice-shaped pasta tumbled around in the boiling water for this Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomato Orzo recipe, we prepared a snazzy double-tomato sauce. A mixture of vegetable broth, sun-dried tomatoes, a plum tomato, a clove of garlic and fresh marjoram is processed in a food processor just until a few chunky bits remain - don't try and make the sauce too smooth. If you can't get a hold of that herb, you could substitute oregano, but just remember that marjoram is more mild and slightly sweeter.

A few chicken breasts are lightly seasoned and skillet-cooked in extra-virgin olive oil until golden and just cooked through. While they rest, the red sauce is heated up with a half cup being reserved to use at plating. The cooked orzo, artichoke hearts and threads of assertive Romano cheese are then stirred into the hot sauce. This dish is served by creating a bed of the orzo mixture, adding slices of the cooked chicken breast, spooning on some of the reserved sauce and finishing with a bit more sharp Romano cheese. The depth that the sun-dried tomatoes gave the sauce was quite captivating and delicious - as it was quite filling, we just had some simple roasted broccoli on the side to round out the meal. We used the frozen artichoke hearts called for, so now we just need to try preparing a dish with the fresh veggie sometime to check those out!


  1. I'm from California where artichokes are abundant, and I grew up eating them. The frozen, canned, and jarred variety are really good for using in recipes. A whole fresh artichoke, on the other hand, is best eaten steamed with butter, mayonnaise or other sauce to dip the leaves and heart in. It is really time consuming to peel the artichoke, etc. to use in another dish. That must be why they invented the frozen and canned kind!

  2. What a wonderful meal! I haven't seen frozen artichoke hearts before. I'll have to search for them now. I've been patiently waiting for good artichokes to appear. I really need to find out when the best season is for them.

  3. Joe, check out the current issue of Eating Well for an incredible-looking stuffed artichoke recipe. It's on my ever-growing to-try list.

  4. Wow, I sure have met a plethora of people who live outside of California and have never had an artichoke. I think it's just one of those veggies that looks too strange to try for some people! We eat giant ones for dinner sometimes. My 6 year old even likes them! You'll have to experiment further... they can be quite delicious in so many things and by themselves too.

  5. Wow, I can't believe you've never eaten an artichoke before! Not even spinach-artichoke dip? I'm not sure that counts as a veggie, but still. :)

  6. Yes, definitely chech out the newest Eating Well. The "eggs benedict" made with artichoke bottoms was quite tasty.

    Check out the Turkey Alfredo Pizza from, Ckng Lght Dec 07. I added chopped artichoke hearts and procuitto to it and it became divine!

    Thanks for the reivew of the Chicken, Sun-dried Tomato and Orzo dish. I've had my eye on that one and I think it's going to go on next weeks rotation.

  7. Don't tell me that you never had artichokes before. I'm surprised with all of the great food that you prepare. It's never too late to try them. I like this combination for your meal. That would be something I would like.

  8. I love artichokes! I tried them for the first time pretty recently too (in tapas actually) and they're just delicious.

  9. Artichokes are my all time favorite food! I LOVE them! You have to try a nice fresh artichoke...I am excited for you now!


  10. Shawn - I've read that they can be a pain to work with, but worth it in the end.

    Patsyk - they are there, but not easy to spot!

    KQV - Yep, it is on my list already!

    Lori - I can't wait to try other recipes!

    Jen - Nope, no dips with it either!

    Kristin - This was on the same page as that one ;-)

    Helene - Sorry, but it's true!

    Hillary - I'll check it out!

    Courtney - Yeah!