Turkish people enjoy stuffing all kinds of ingredients in every possible vegetable which is big enough to hold them. So it should come as no surprise that artichokes are one of the favorite vegetables for stuffing, and for making a delicious dish which can be served at dinner time. If you include meat with your dolmas, (which are stuffed artichokes), you can even make this a fine dinner entrée, because it will have a little bit of everything in it to satisfy hungry family members.
Dolmas are popular all throughout the Mediterranean area, and many countries of Europe and Eastern Europe have a long history of preparing dolmas at mealtime. That should tell you all you need to know about how tasty and how popular they have always been, especially in Turkey.
The artichokes which you choose for your meal and to hold the stuffing ingredients should be medium-sized, because you’ll need to fit them into a cooking pot, and if you choose really large ones, you might only get one artichoke into the pot.
Before you begin your cooking preparations, it’s best that you take a few minutes to trim and hollow out the artichokes themselves for stuffing. To do this, you will need to trim off the outer leaves, and then cut off the tips of the artichoke. Then you need to hollow out the center, using a spoon rather than any kind of sharp-edged object, which might pierce through the artichoke.
Once you have good, hollowed out artichokes, you can turn your attention to gathering all the ingredients you’ll need to make tasty dolmas for the whole family. Keep in mind that the ingredient list shown below does not include every possible variant that some people use to make dolmas.
Some prefer using lots of meat and rice, and others prefer to emphasize the vegetables and the flavorings. You can use the recipe included below as a base recipe, and add in whatever other ingredients you would like to include in your own personal dolmas. Make sure to not get too carried away with a lot of extra inclusions, because they will all have to fit into the hollowed-out part of the artichoke.
Stuffed Artichokes Recipe
All the ingredients needed to make a deliciously stuffed artichoke are listed below, in more or less proper portions. For cooking instructions, consult the paragraph after the list of ingredients. After you have prepared your stuffed artichoke dish several times, you may find that you wish to substitute one or more ingredients for some of your own favorites.
This is perfectly acceptable, although you should be prepared for a slightly different flavor than the present recipe produces. These recipes have already been handed down for years and years, undoubtedly with a number of substitutions and additions or subtractions, before they came to us in the present form. All that being said, the recipe described below is a traditional Turkish version and is considered absolutely delicious by vast numbers of the Turkish populace.
- a pinch of sea salt
- approximately 1 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ bunch of chopped mint
- 4 whole artichokes with all the pointy leaves trimmed off
- ½ bunch of dill
- ½ bunch of coriander
- ½ bunch of chopped parsley
- 1 medium-sized pot with a cover (big enough to fit 4 artichokes in)
- 1 medium-sized mixing bowl
- 4 thin slices of lemon (for the stuffed artichoke topping)
- 2 cups of water
- 6 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 handful of fresh green almonds
- 12 whole fresh garlic cloves (in lieu of the fresh cloves, you can use 4 stored garlic cloves which have been sliced thinly)
- Chunks of lamb meat (this is optional, and can be included according to taste)
- 1 cup white rice (this is also optional)
First, you should mix together the fresh garlic, thinly chopped herbs, spring onions, and the fresh almonds, in a good-sized mixing bowl. If you are including lamb meat and/or rice in your dolmas, the chunks of meat and rice should also be mixed in with the vegetable ingredients. Take this material and stuff it into the artichoke cavities, filling each artichoke up as full as possible. If you have any stuffing left over, it can be placed directly into the pot.
Drizzle the stuffed artichokes with extra-virgin olive oil liberally. This is a very important step, because if you don’t add on enough olive oil, the artichokes will come out dry, and they won’t be as moist and delicious as they should be.
Add the water into the pot and put the lid over the artichokes. Turn on your stovetop, and keep it on a low heat while the artichokes cook. The water should steam through the artichokes to cook the ingredients, and when you notice that a sharp knife can easily be inserted into the artichoke, they will be sufficiently cooked.
Remove them from the heat, leaving the artichokes in the pot until you are ready to serve them at the family meal. The best way to approach preparing your stuffed artichokes is to cook them in the morning, and then allow them to sit for several hours before dinner time.