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Middle East Near You

Kharshouf mahshi

Middle Eastern food seems to be a series of some delicious form of stuffed vegetable, and this recipe is no exception.

Middle Eastern food seems to be a series of some delicious form of stuffed vegetable, and this recipe is no exception. The minced meat and nut stuffed artichokes are an amazing and creative way to eat the vegetable and I am certain it will be a regular at your home.

Artichokes are one of my favourite vegetables because they are so versatile and have a variety of textures. I make these exactly as my grandma did; fried until crisp and then baked to soften the inside. However, if you are really against frying, you could always brush them with some olive oil and pop them in the oven until they crisp up on the outside and start to soften on the inside. You can then begin to fill and bake them.

If you are using fresh artichokes, make sure they are properly cleaned and have had a squeeze of lemon juice to keep them from browning, but if you are using frozen ones, make sure they are completely defrosted and dry before frying. Don’t feel discouraged from using frozen artichokes, they make for a really yummy dish.

I like to use quite a bit of lemon juice in the recipe because I feel the zingy flavour is just what the artichokes need. If you are not too keen on lemon, feel free to cut back on this.

I love this dish not only because it is so hearty and delicious, but because it also takes me straight to my grandma’s house, and I am sure you will all love it too.

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 3 kg artichokes (fresh or frozen)
  • Oil for frying
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 300g minced meat (beef or lamb)
  • 2 large onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 3 tsp. mixed spices
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp parsley
  • 100g toasted pine nuts (optional)
  • 100g toasted almonds (optional)

Cooking liquid

  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 2 tsp. mixed spices
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1.5 lemons
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

1. Heat the oil and fry the artichokes for a few minutes on each side until they brown. Place them on some kitchen towels to absorb the excess oil.

2. To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and brown the minced meat. Drain any excess liquids, add a little more olive oil and fry the onions until soft. Add the spices and the rest of the filling ingredients and cook together for a few minutes. Taste and adjust the salt, pepper and spices content to taste.

3. Fill each artichoke with some of the filling, make sure to really pack the filling in there! Then place them in a large baking tray.

4. Mix the stock, spices, nutmeg, lemon juice and salt and pepper together, spoon some on each artichoke, and then pour the rest into the tray. Make sure you don’t pour directly on the artichokes, otherwise the filling will fall out.

5. Cover the tray with some aluminium foil. If using frozen artichokes, bake in the oven at 180C for 30 minutes or so, or until the artichokes have softened. If you’re using fresh artichokes, bake for about an hour. If you want the sauce to thicken, remove the aluminium foil 10 minutes before removing the dish from the oven.

6. Serve with a squeeze of lemon and rice or bread. For a lighter option, serve on their own with some cool yogurt. Enjoy!

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