Stuffed Artichokes Mehshi Ardi Chowkee are a bit of a variation on the classic dish but make an elegant dinner without being too heavy. I used frozen artichoke hearts which come shallower than the fresh ones left whole for stuffing. They are literally heart shaped appropriately, so they fit in the baking tray. Their advantage is that they have a great texture and are time saving.
Looking through the different brands of frozen artichoke hearts, I realised that they require defrosting before use, then treat them as fresh, so please check the instructions written on the packaging. Some frozen artichokes might be partially cooked before the freezing process, if so, the cooking time should be reduced by half.
If you choose to prepare the artichoke hearts by yourself and leave them whole, then I suggest to increase the quantity of the minced meat to 200g/ 7oz.
The following website shows how to prepare fresh globe artichokes whole for stuffing.
Ingredients for Stuffed Artichokes Mehshi Ardi Chowkee
400 g/ 14 oz frozen artichoke hearts (net weight)
165 g/ 5½ oz minced lamb
1½ tbsp vegetable oil
1 large/ medium onion peeled then finely chopped
Seasoning: salt & freshly milled black pepper
½ tsp allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
30 g/ 1¼ oz toasted pine nuts
A dab of softened butter
For the sauce
450 ml/ 15 fl oz vegetable stock made with stock cubes and kept at room temperature
40 g/ 1½ oz butter
20 g/ ¾ oz flour
2-3 tbsp lemon juice or to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (optional)
Equipment. Pyrex baking dish, large enough to fit all the Artichoke Hearts.
- Thaw the artichoke hearts according to instructions on the package.
- Rinse briefly the defrosted artichoke hearts then drop them in boiling water, bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for about 12 minutes until semi-tender. Drain then, when cool enough to handle pat dry on kitchen paper.
- Prepare the stuffing, in fact you could do that the day before. Heat up the oil in a medium-sized deep frying pan and sauté the chopped onions for 2 – 3 minutes then mix in the meat, stirring from time to time to break the lumps. Cook until the meat is browned. Season with all the prepared spices, taste and adjust, give it a good stir and mix in the toasted pine nuts before switching off the heat.
Making the sauce.
Using a medium heat, melt the butter in a medium-sized pan, when it starts to foam, add the flour and stir continuously for one minute. Gradually, pour in the stock and bring slowly to the boil whisking all along with a balloon whisk until the sauce has thickened so you have a smooth velvety texture. Next, turn the heat to its lowest and leave the sauce to simmer for three minutes, stirring occasionally, at the same time adding the lemon juice along with seasoning. Taste and adjust if necessary. If using coriander which I think nicely sharpens the lemony taste, stir it in last after switching off the heat.
Assembling the dish.
Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC/ 375ºF. Meanwhile, grease the baking dish with the softened butter, pour in enough sauce just to cover the base. Now, leaving enough room on the sides to pour the remaining sauce, arrange as well as you can fit artichoke hearts, the rest can be added later. Top generously each artichoke heart with filling, you may need to press the filling gently with a spoon to make it hold firmly. Next, slowly tip the sauce through the gap until finished. Lastly, arrange the remaining hearts in any gaps and top them with the remaining filling. Cover the dish and pop it in the oven, bake for 20 minutes then remove the cover and bake for five more minutes then take it out and it should be ready.
Serve while bubbling hot with freshly cooked vermicelli rice.