Artichokes always bring visual — even architectural — interest to the table. Here, the addition of olives and mint to a simple braise promises to excite even the most die-hard artichoke fans. We like to make this dish to serve alongside braised or roasted chicken when the weather is cool. When you braise, rather than steam, the artichokes, they are continuously bathed in the flavorful cooking juices, turning them soft and velvety.
Braised Artichokes with Lemon, Mint and Olives
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) fresh lemon juice
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) olive oil
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) chicken stock or low-sodium broth
2 large shallots, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 cup (1/2 oz./15 g.) coarsely torn fresh mint
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Using a large serrated knife, trim off about 1 inch (2.5 cm.) of the tops and the stem ends of each artichoke. Using scissors, trim off the thorny tips of each outer leaf. Using the serrated knife, quarter the artichokes lengthwise, then scoop out the fuzzy chokes with the tip of a small spoon. Place the artichoke quarters in a baking dish or Dutch oven, sprinkle with lemon juice, and toss to coat. Scatter the garlic slices on top.
In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, chicken stock and shallots. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture evenly over the artichokes. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake until the artichokes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 50 minutes. Uncover, add the olives and mint, and toss to combine. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes longer to heat the olives through and to blend the flavors.
Transfer the artichokes to a serving dish and pour the pan juices over the top. Serve right away and pass the lemon wedges at the table. Serves 6-8.