Saturday, April 02, 2011

How to Cook Artichokes in a Pressure Cooker

Artichokes cooked
If you have a pressure cooker, you really should try using it to cook artichokes!
(I've noticed artichokes are starting to go on sale, so I'm revisiting this recipe detailing my favorite way to cook them.  This was added to Recipe Favorites April 2011.)  If you didn't grow up eating artichokes, they can look pretty unapproachable. Luckily I had a mother who loved artichokes, and we had them as often as the budget would permit. Some people cook them whole and cut the choke out after, but I learned from my mom to cut the artichokes in half and cut out the choke before cooking. This may have been due to having ten kids in the family, since each family member got half an artichoke. Whatever the reason I've been doing it that way ever since, even now that I'm buying my own artichokes and can eat as many as I want. I used to cook my artichokes in a pan with a few inches of boiling water, but when CookieCrumb shared the idea of using the pressure cooker, I thought it was brilliant. I followed CookieCrumb's idea of adding some aromatics to the water and checked Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure to help with the timing.

Artichokes are thistles, originally from Europe. The bud is completely edible in young artichokes, but in mature plants, only the center heart and tips of leaves are edible, and the choke must be removed. You can dip the heart and tips in sauces, butter, or mayonnaise, and artichokes are good hot or cold.

With a bit of trimming and peeling you can eat most of the artichoke stem, so I always pick the ones with the longest stems. Trim the discolored end, then cut off the very lowest leaves and peel the stem. This photo shows an artichoke stem before trimming on the right, and after trimming on the left.

After the stem is trimmed and peeled, cut the artichoke in half through the stem. Then use a small sharp knife to make a deep cut under the fuzzy choke. Grab the very inside leaves, and pull out, taking the choke with it. With practice you can get it out in one or two pulls, and leave as much of the leaves as you can while removing all the choke. In the photo above the artichoke on the right shows the choke intact, and in the one on the left the choke has been removed.

CookieCrumb suggested using things like lemon peel, herbs, or chiles in the water to add more flavor to the artichokes. I think there are endless flavorings that could be good here, but I used dried lemon peel and dried shallots, both from Penzeys.

You can trim the prickly tips of the artichoke leaves with scissors if you want to, but I usually don't bother with that. Four artichoke halves fit perfectly into my 3.7 quart Kuhn Rikon Pressure Cooker. Here's how the artichokes looked before they were cooked.

And here are the perfectly cooked artichokes, coming out of the pressure cooker six minutes later! I have to confess, I ate both artichokes in one day!


How to Cook Artichokes in the Pressure Cooker
(Inspired by artichoke cooking advice from CookieCrumb and timing recommendations from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure.)

Ingredients:
2 medium-sized artichokes
2 cups water
1/2 tsp. dried lemon zest or 1-2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
1 tsp. dried shallots or 2 tsp. minced fresh shallots
(You can use any flavorings of your choice such as onions, garlic, chiles, or herbs.)

Instructions:
I used a 3.7 quart pressure cooker. If you want to cook more than two artichokes at a time, use a larger size.

Put the metal rack in the bottom of the pressure cooker. Add 2 cups water and put on the stove and bring to a boil.

While water is coming to a boil, cut off discolored end of artichoke stem and remove any stray leaves growing below the base of the artichoke, then use a vegetable peeler to peel the thicker skin on the stem. Cut artichoke in half lengthwise through the stem. Use a small, sharp knife to make a deep cut below the choke on each artichoke half, then pull away the very inside leaves, pulling the choke with it. (This may take a few cuts your first try.) Rinse the inside of the artichoke if any fuzzy choke fibers remain.

Add lemon zest and shallots to boiling water in the pressure cooker, then put in artichokes, inside facing down. Lock lid and bring to high pressure, then lower heat enough to maintain high pressure and pressure cook for 6 minutes. (Start timing as soon as high pressure is reached.) After six minutes, use quick release method to release pressure, then open lid carefully. Test for doneness by pulling out one leaf; it should remove easily and be tender on the end and the stem should pierce easily with a fork. My artichokes were perfectly cooked in six minutes, but if you need to cook a little longer, just put lid on but don't lock and cook a few minutes more.

Serve artichokes hot, warm, or cold. The artichokes in the photo were served warm with Mom's Artichoke Dipping Sauce.

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
Artichokes are a great choice for any phase of the South Beach Diet, and they're a great low-glycemic food choice.

More Artichoke Love from Kalyn:
White Bean and Artichoke Dip with Whole Wheat Tortilla Chips
Arugula Salad with Marinated Artichokes and More
Artichoke Rosemary Frittata

Other Bloggers Write About Artichokes:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
A is for April, Asparagus, Artichokes, and Arugula from Alanna at BlogHer
I Heart Artichokes from Tammy at BlogHer
How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke from Simply Recipes
Artichoke Panzanella from Becks and Posh
Braised Baby Artichokes with Garlic, Thyme, and Parmesan from Orangette
Fried Baby Artichokes from Steamy Kitchen
8 Artichoke Recipes from Max at Slashfood
(Want even more artichoke recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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42 comments:

Pearl said...

mm i have never made or prepared artichokes, but this sounds like a neat way to do it! thank you for sharing :D

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Six minutes? Gosh, I really have to get a pressure cooker! I've seen such wonderful recipes -- yours, for cooking beans as well as these artichokes -- and another for risotto. I wouldn't mind having my slow cooking speeded up a bit!

The Veggie Queen said...

Thanks for this great post on cooking artichokes in the pressure cooker. I am a huge pressure cooking fan.

I cooked baby artichokes (so lucky to get them) in mine last night and thought that 3 minutes at pressure would be just right but when I do it again, it will only be for 2 1/2 minutes because they were a bit overcooked.

Some people only use their pressure cookers for artichokes but we both know that they are really missing out on benefits of the pressure cooker and cooking the really good stuff.

Trish said...

What an awesome idea. Hmmm...where is that old pressure cooker of my moms?!!

Kalyn said...

Pearl, you must try them!

Lydia, the more I use the pressure cooker, the more I like it. I'm just getting ready to make a cauliflower curry right now.

Veggie Queen, you are the pressure cooking expert! How lucky to get baby artichokes. I never see them here.

Trish, my mom had one too, but I was scared of those older ones. The new models have a pressure release valve built into the lid, so it can't come off. I love mine, although it was definitely an investment. My only regret is that I didn't spring for the larger one.

Lori Lynn said...

I have been thinking about buying a pressure cooker, this gives me one more reason. I first ate an artichoke after I graduated college. My date showed me how...a cute memory.

Happy Easter to you and your family Kalyn.
Lori Lynn

Reen said...

Can't wait to get artichokes! I've always made them in a pot with water at the bottom and sometimes it takes forever! This looks great and I have several pressure cookers. So glad you posted this!

Kalyn said...

Lori, what a fun memory! I can tell you I'm sold on the pressure cooker. I never imagined I'd love it so much.

Reen, I agree, it did seem like it took forever in a regular pot didn't it. I remember wondering why they took so long to cook!

flfarmgirl said...

You have made my day with this post! I have been intimidated by the lovely thistle. I have seen some beautiful chokes at the market this week. I love my pressure pan and your post couldn't have come at a better time. Thank you! PS, I had the best I've ever had while we were in Rome. You have given me a flash back and courage---how did you do that?

Kalyn said...

Flfarmgirl, you made my day with that comment, so now we're even! (BTW, love the name of your blog, very clever!)

The Italian Dish said...

Wow, artichokes in 6 minutes! I keep talking about getting a pressure cooker because of you, Kalyn! Now I think I really have to.

tuki said...

I love your blog! Thankyou!!

BrendaLou said...

I've cooked whole artichokes in the pressure cooker for years. But note: if using an aluminum pressure cooker avoid adding anything acidic to the mix as there is a direct correlation of aluminum and alzheimers.

Anonymous said...

I guess it depends where and when (the 50s-60s) and with whom (and with which cookbooks - the older Joy of Cooking edition we used had a pressure cooker timing chart in it) you grew up - we always cooked our artichokes in a pressure cooker, but we didn't cut them in half (and remove the choke) first. The idea of adding aromatics to the water is new to me, though.
Sandra

katrina said...

That is brilliant, Kalyn! Not only cutting them in half, but using a pressure cooker. I have GOT to get one of those babies. I always cook 'chokes whole, which means an hour or so of cooking to get them really tender. I also throw in lemons and bay leaves, but I love chiles, so I should add that, too. Many thanks!

Maris said...

You're right - artichokes are intimidating. I have no idea to make them and though I'm sure they're delicious (I love artichoke hearts) I've always been hesitate to buy the scary looking things! :)

Y said...

Yum. I love artichokes, but have peeled so many in my work life that I don't often feel compelled to prepare them at home. I've been wanting to buy a pressure cookier for ages now though!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

What a coincidence! I blogged about pressure cooking artichokes, and then I grilled them! They were super good.
I appreciate the tip on using aromatics with the pressure cooker. Now, why haven't I thought of that?
Beautiful photos, too.

Debby

A Feast for the Eyes said...

PS: I wanted to mention that I bought a Digital Pressure cooker about 5 years ago. I love it to pieces! Use it all the time-- love it much more than a slow cooker.

Tom said...

its first time i am listening that artichokes are cooked. :D any ways i am definatly gona try it.

Genie said...

Kalyn, I think you just pushed me over the edge. Artichokes in six minutes? I HAVE to get a pressure cooker now.

Kalyn said...

For all you thinking about getting a pressure cooker, really I can't say enough good things about the pressure cooker. It was an investment for me (because I was paranoid and got a really high quality one) but no regrets. I wish I had a bigger size too!

Once again I see I'm not keeping up on comments, but I'm glad so many people are liking this information.

BeckyRos said...

Thanks for posting this. I tried twice this year to cook artichokes with no success. I will review this next time I pick up artichokes at the store.

cookiecrumb said...

You are awesome.
I am flattered.
Mmm.

Kalyn said...

Becky, do keep trying and you'll get it right. Artichokes are such a delight!

Cookiecrumb, YOU are awesome. Thanks again for the great tip. I'm loving the pressure cooker so much. If I wasn't spending much money on my house (and kind of freaking out about it) I'd probably have bought a bigger size pressure cooker too. (Best news is that there is a guest room now, so you and Cranky must come visit!)

katiez said...

I've been wanting to get a pressure cooker... now I really want one. And cutting them in half - I just bought a 3 for 2 special, now I know what to do with the 3rd.
(Love the house pics - been catching up)

Elle Pee said...

I can't wait to try artichokes in the pressure cooker... I'll have to wait until NEXT spring!!

Lovely photos, too!

Kalyn said...

Elle, thank you. I loved how they turned out!

gfe--gluten free easily said...

In 6 minutes? Wow! That is definitely an incentive to get a pressure cooker. We just had artichokes for dinner this week. We're nuts for artichokes, but steaming them is not a quick thing. Okay, I may have to get a pressure cooker. I've had them in the past, but was always intimidated by them and ended up passing them on to others.

Thanks for revisiting this post, Kalyn!

Shirley

Kalyn said...

Shirley, the new pressure cookers are really wonderful. They have a safety valve that takes away the worry.

Judianne said...

My mom never used her pressure cooker for artichokes but she used to cook them in a Dutch oven in water to cover. She added at least 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 2 to 4 large whole cloves of garlic.about 1 TBSP of salt and then cooked them until tender. They were essentially marinated while cooking. We did dip the leaves in mayonaisse but really if you are controlling your diet, one doesn't need to. Also, since we like a whole artichoke each, I have started cutting off the top 1/3 to 1/2 (depending on the size) before cooking. That part isn't edible so why cook it? They could well be cooked this way in a pressure cooker.

Kalyn said...

Judianne, my mother also cooked them in water that way but the pressure cooker is so much faster that now I love using it. But for people without a pressure cooker, just use a big pot.

FabFrugalFood said...

I just bought a pressure cooker a few weeks ago to use for cooking grains. THANK YOU for this idea ~ once again I am reminded of why I am a KK fan!

Kalyn said...

You're welcome! You will LOVE the pressure cooker for cooking artichokes.

Anonymous said...

FYI the photo showing the leaves that have been eaten and have the teeth grooves on them to prove it are incorrect. One should pull the leaves through the teeth with the portion which was attached to the stem enters the mouth first and the leaf is held by the end where the thorn was removed.

Kalyn said...

Dear anonymous, believe it or not I do know which end of the artichoke leaf to eat. Those are not eaten leaves, the leaves just have some grooves in them.

Wendy said...

I love the idea of taking out the choke before it cooks- We always just steamed them whole, and had to deal with the choke at the table, which can get messy. I'll be trying this method tonight!

Phoo-D said...

We made these last night and they turned out amazing! I steamed two artichokes out of the same batch earlier in the week and they were quite tough and lacking in flavor compared to the ones cooked in the pressure cooker. Next up is an artichoke soup with the leftover liquid and a bag of frozen artichoke hearts!

Kalyn said...

Phoo-D so glad you enjoyed them. This is the only way I cook artichokes nowdays!

Deb said...

Ive been using a pressure cooker for 30 years (started in my early 20s - got it as a gift for Christmas when I was pregnant again!) I cook them whole, but cut off the stems so they sit flat on the roating rack in the pressure cooker and cook with about 1/2 water for 6 minutes while hubby finished making the hollandaise sauce! Perfect every time!

Kalyn said...

Deb, isn't it just the best way ever to cook them!

johnnybregar said...

I tried this tonight, and left the artichokes whole (2). 7 mins was not enough - I think for whole ones it might be closer to 10 mins.

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