It feels a bit wrong to buy bags of frozen artichoke hearts when the fresh ones are falling off the shelves in their eagerness to go home with me at the grocery store. It isn’t that I’m afraid to cook a whole artichoke–I’ve done it many times–but I just don’t see the point. You throw 9/10 of it away. The heart gets mangled and overcooked (unless you severely undercook the leaves) and you get those thistly strings stuck between your teeth from that barbarian scraping of the 1/4 teaspoon of flesh from gargantuan, spiky leaves.
Mostly, though, I don’t like throwing food away, and I figure evil corporations want to milk every last penny from everything, so the inedible parts are probably being sold as cattle feed or a component of drywall or something, and I don’t have to deal with it. So I buy the frozen ones, even in springtime.
I saw this recipe ages ago, and ignored it because I was sulking about the tomato sauce. And because I’m afraid of making homemade pasta. Even though pierogis are basically homemade pasta and I can throw a batch together in less than half an hour, and I know hand-rolling the dough is easy as sin. So I took my sour cream pierogi dough and made Smitten Kitchen’s artichoke ravioli filling.
Ingredients (serves 2, filling adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1/2 recipe pierogi dough (make a whole recipe and freeze the rest. Or use it all and double the filling to serve 4. Whatever.)
2 T butter
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
8 oz bag of frozen artichoke hearts, rinsed and thawed
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 egg yolk
zest of 1 lemon
grated nutmeg, to taste
Melt butter over high heat until bubbly.
Plop your artichoke hearts and crushed garlic cloves in the butter.
Fry 6-8 minutes to brown well. Browning=Flavor.
Meanwhile, grate parmesan, lemon zest, and nutmeg.
Put the fried artichoke in the bowl of a food processor.
Add cheese and lemon zest and process.
Add yolk and nutmeg and salt and process again. It won’t get totally smooth. It’s okay. Texture is a good thing. Flour your work surface and prepare the pierogi dough.
Roll the dough very thin and cut into 3 1/2 inch to four-inch circles.
Put 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each dough circle.
Fold each circle in half and pinch to seal the sides.
I had a few extra pierogi circles when the filling was gone, because Mr. B got hungry and scooped a giant spoonful of the filling into his mouth ten minutes before dinner. I filled those with little squares of cream cheese.
Cook the pierogis in uncrowded batches for 3-4 minutes.
Serve immediately with sour cream, fruit and vegetables, or on their own if the other folks you are feeding just can’t wait another 45 seconds for dinner. Honestly, it’s as though 11 P.M. were an unreasonable time to eat.