Lebanese Dishes / Recipes

Stuffed artichoke hearts with white sauce

Whenever I have made this dish for friends’ dinner parties, it always disappears in no time. What I love about it is that it goes really well with other dishes, but if you serve it with rice and fresh lemon wedges, it makes a great main dish. It is very easy and quick to prepare, so make sure you always keep some frozen artichoke hearts in your freezer, they come very handy when you are in a rush. You can do so much with them, like boiling them for about fifteen minutes and marinating them with a lemon and olive oil dressing. Toss them with your salad, or just enjoy as a snack. Do Check out my other recipes using artichoke hearts here and here, they are delicious.

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Serves 6 as a main meal

Ingredients:
2 packets frozen artichoke hearts 400g each
300 g lamb mince
3 table-spoons pine nuts
1 table-spoon butter
drizzle of olive oil
2 tea-spoons cornflour
1/2 cup milk
2 cups water
200 g grated tasty cheese
1/2 tea-spoon seven spice
1 1/2 tea-spoon sea salt (to taste)

Defrost artichokes, wash and place in a pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to boil then simmer for about 15 minutes until they are tender.

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In the mean time pan fry the mince meat in a pan with butter, add 1/2 tea spoon of sea salt and seven spice. If you do not have seven spice, replace with 1/4 tea-spoon of black pepper and 1/4 tea-spoon of cinnamon powder. Keep stirring until it is brown and well cooked, remove then add pine nuts with a little drizzle of olive oil and pan fry until golden. Place on top of mince meat and mix.

When artichokes are ready, remove and place in a baking dish, making sure that you keep the liquid. Add the milk to the liquid in the pot and dilute the corn flour with a bit of water and add to it, add sea salt to taste and stir on medium heat until it thickens. Fill each artichoke heart with the meat filling. Then place a tablespoon of liquid on top. Pour the rest of the sauce into the baking dish. Top each artichoke with a heaped tablespoon of grated tasty cheese and place baking dish in a 180 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until cheese has become golden in colour and melted. Serve on its own or with Lebanese rice pilaf (recipe below) and sauce. Fresh lemon wedges to squeeze on top of rice to taste goes really well with it.

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Lebanese rice with Vermicelli egg noodles:

Ingredients:
2 cups of basmati rice.
¼ cup of crushed Vermicelli egg noodles, or one whole piece.
2 table-spoons of ghee or butter.
1 tea-spoon sea salt.
2 cups of hot water.

To make the rice:

Clean rice and drain. Place the butter in the pot and add the egg noodles by breaking and crushing the ball with your hand. Fry until golden then add rice and toss a bit before adding the water and sea salt. Bring to boil and then simmer for about ten minutes or until cooked. Check that the rice is cooked by crushing a single grain between two fingers and making sure it is soft. Turn the heat off and place a dry tea towel on top of pot then put lid on top and fold excess material on top of lid. This will absorb any additional steam.

Note: if you wish to use ordinary long or short grain rice, not Basmati, please refer to ‘cooking rice absorption method’ in my Tips and Tricks page.

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