Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Artichokes with Lemon Rice - a meatless meal for Vegetarian Vednesday

I love artichokes. I love the little hearts. They're great cooked and warm, or pickled and cold. And I love giant artichokes for a leisurely meal, picking off one leaf at a time.

I like the really big artichokes cut in half, stuffed or not. Half of a huge artichoke is enough for a hearty appetizer, but if you stuff it, it can be a light meal.

While it's pretty common to stuff artichokes with a bread crumb mixture, I decided to make a rice stuffing this time since I also like rice an awful lot.

I added lemon to the rice because it pairs well with artichokes and added red bell peppers for the color and sweetness.

If you're not a fan of rice, you could use barley or quinoa or whatever you do like.

The beauty of this is that you can, if you like, cook the artichokes ahead of time and reheat them and stuff them right before serving. I got two ginormous purple artichokes from Frieda's Specialty Produce, so that was four servings for me - obviously I needed some reheating.

I cooked mine in my pressure cooker - just 10 minutes of cooking time - but you can also cook them in a large pot. Add some lemon juice to keep them from browning and cook until they're fork-tender.

I cooked the rice in my rice cooker, but you can also cook it on the stovetop using whatever method you prefer.

If you need it, check my post on how to clean and cook an artichoke.

Rice-Stuffed Lemony Artichokes

2 large artichoke, halved, cleaned, and cooked
2 rice-cooker cups jasmine rice (usually 3/4 cup each, for 1 1/2 cups rice, total)
Water, to cooking line (or a little less to compensate for moisture in the vegetables)
1 fire roasted red bell pepper, cored, peeled, and roughly chopped
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 springs fresh thyme (leaves only)
Juice and zest from 1 Meyer lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Meyer lemon wedges, for garnish

Combine the rice, water, pepper, mushrooms, thyme, lemon juice and zest, salt, and olive oil in your rice cooker. Cook on the regular rice setting.

Serve the artichokes stuffed with rice and garnish with lemon wedges to squeeze on as desired. If you like, you can drizzle with a bit of olive oil, as well.

If you're not a rice fiend like I am, you're likely to end up with leftover rice. So, make more artichokes, or serve the rice as a side dish. It's pretty good on its own.

I received the artichokes and Meyer lemons from Frieda's Specialty Produce.