April 25-27 Artichoke Risotto Almost Fail

April 25    Take out greek
April 26    Artichoke Risotto
April 27    Beef Stew, rice and yorkshire puddings from Supperworks

I guess it was a week for culinary misfires. First Jen had her pasta fail and then I had an artichoke malfunction. I hope that our bad mojo will not rub off on Dianne because she is hosting a crack of dawn royal wedding tea and if something bad happens to her scones, I am going to be very grumpy.

It was a rainy, horrible day and risotto just seemed like a good, comforting choice for dinner and Little Shack had asked for it for his birthday dinner. I was feeling a bit bad about shooting him down and had planned to make one at some point in the near future and then, when I was out walking in the rain this morning, I saw some nice looking artichokes and decided I would get them and throw those in a risotto. I have never really cooked with fresh artichokes apart from just steaming them and pulling the leaves off one by one and dipping them. I kind of envisioned slicing them thinly and then frying them until they got really brown and crispy which didn't happen but I still want to try that.
I bought a turkey scaloppini to throw in so there would be a bit of protein and I didn't feel like chicken and it was raining too hard to make the trek to get seafood.

The risotto was delicious but I made my first culinary screw up in ages. I didn't peel enough layers off the artichokes before slicing them so we all had to pick through our risotto and throw the inedible bits in a bowl as we were eating. The kid and I don't mind that so much (we will both happily pick little fish bones out of our mouth as long as the fish is delicious) but Shack has a bit of an issue with that sort of thing.
The good news is that the flavour was great and The Kid liked the taste of the artichokes. I have learned a valuable lesson and will not make that mistake again. I might even buy some more and steam them and show him how to eat them with some tzatziki this week. I cut up the two remaining artichokes and roasted them at 400F and they seemed to dry out but they looked beautiful, almost like they were carved out of wood. You dont' really want to eat a vegetable that looks like it was carved out of wood but it made a pretty styling prop, if that counts for anything.

after the fuzzy choke is removed but look at those dark green, tough leaves that I should have removed

Artichoke Risotto
Serves 4 main course portions or 6 as a side

200 grams turkey scalloppini
glug of olive oil
about 4 tbls butter in total
4 artichokes
1 small onion, diced finely
1 large clove garlic, chopped
fresh thyme
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/3 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup of white wine
about 5 to 6 cups of chicken stock
1/3 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

To prepare the artichokes:
cut off the stems and peel off the hard, green outer layers. Cut in half and with a small spoon, scoop out the fuzzy choke and any inner leaves that are purple and look hard and sharp. Then slice the artichokes into thin slices, about 1/8th of an inch. Put them in a bowl of cold water with the juice of a lemon squeezed into it (i throw the whole lemon in after squeezing the juice) and let them stay there until you are ready to cook them. Learn by my mistake and make sure you peel back most of the outer layers until you reach the true inner, pale green leaves.
beautiful tutorial on how to prep an artichoke that I wish I had found BEFORE i cooked today

slice the turkey into bite sized pieces and set aside.

Bring  your stock to a light simmer on a back burner while you heat a big sauté pan that is deep enough to accommodate the finished dish over medium heat. Add a glug of olive oil and about half of the garlic and the turkey. Sprinkle with kosher salt, a few grinds of pepper and about a tbls or so of fresh thyme (i love thyme so I am quite generous with it ). Sauté your turkey until it looks just cooked through, squeezing lemon juice from half a lemon over it. Remove and set aside.

Add another little glug of olive oil to the pan and add your drained, sliced artichokes. Turn the heat up to medium high and cook them until they start to brown a little bit, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove them to a bowl and set aside.

Melt 2 tbls butter in the pan and add the onions and the rest of the garlic and the onion, turn the heat back down to medium or even closer to medium low and cook until the onion is softened. Now add your arborio rice and stir around until the rice starts to become opaque. I didn't have white wine so I added 1/2 cup of sake instead at this point but I would use white wine. Stir the rice continually until the wine is evaporated.  Now you start adding your barely simmering stock in, one ladle at a time. Stir constantly and don't add the next ladle full of hot stock until the previous one has been mostly absorbed by the rice. You can add the artichokes back in at this point as well. Continue doing this for the next ten minutes. Ladle of stock, stir, stir, stir until the stock is mostly absorbed, another ladle of stock. At the ten minute mark, add your turkey back into the pan with any juices that have collected.
Continue to add stock, stir, lather, rinse, repeat for another 10 to 12 minutes, until your stock is gone and the rice is tender.
Take it off the heat and add 2 tlbs of butter and the parmesan cheese and fold them both into the rice until they are all melty and fully incorporated.