Tonight’s Menu: Artichokes stuffed with ground chicken served with butternut squash soup.
I found these huge artichokes yesterday and was determined to find a great use for them. I have never stuffed artichokes before so I decided to give it a shot. Artichokes are a great source of fibre and when stuffed with lean ground chicken, low-fat cheese and vegetables provide a very balanced meal especially for those with fitness daily on their agenda. As it was my first time stuffing the artichokes I decided to boil them first then remove the inedible parts. This became a challenge as they fell apart slightly and I had to serve them in ramekins but they tasted lovely and still looked quite delightful. The ramekins also worked out well as you could still pull out the leaves to eat the meat of the artichoke on the ends without it completely falling apart.
I decided to serve the meal with a butternut squash soup that I made yesterday. Soup always tastes best the next day! This soup is very low in fat as I omitted the cream and butter that is usually added and completed it with only a few ingredients. That’s the thing, we tend to add a lot of unnecessary fat into recipes without even trying the result without first. Only a great cook can create superb dishes without adding excess fat; as we all know fat = flavour. Next time you create your favorite dishes take a second to think of flavourful replacements for fatty additives such as fresh herbs, spices, lemon, low-fat cream cheese and sour cream etc.
Approx. cooking time 1 hrs.
Butternut Squash Soup:
1 medium butternut squash (peeled and cubed)
1 small onion (diced)
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 c. white wine
1 sprig of rosemary
1 tetra pack of reduced sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 c. water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (great for digestion)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
S&P to taste
Saute onion on low with oil in large pot. When onion is softened and lightly browned add the squash. Turn heat to medium high and stir for approx. 5 mins. Deglaze the pot with wine and add the stock and water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for approx. 20 mins or until squash is quite tender. Take of the heat and blend until smooth with a hand blender. Return to heat and add spices. Let simmer without a lid for about 10 mins. to reduce. Season to taste. Serve with fat-free sour cream quenelles and toasted pecans if desired.
4 large artichokes
1 lb. ground lean chicken
1 tsp. olive oil
1 small onion (Brunoise or fine diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
10 large brown mushrooms (sliced)
1 zucchini (diced)
1 can of diced tomato
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 c. low fat ricotta cheese
1/4 c. Parmigiano (grated)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a few pinches of salt (always add salt to blanching or boiling water!). Add the artichokes and cover. Let simmer for 1/2 hr.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high, when hot add the chicken and one clove of garlic. Cook until there is no pink left and season with S&P. Spoon into a bowl with a slotted spoon and discard excess juice and fat remaining. Return skillet to heat, add oil and onions. Cook until translucent and add remaining garlic, mushrooms and zucchini. Cook for about 10 mins. stirring occasionally. Add chicken, tomatoes, thyme and ricotta; simmer until almost dry. Season with S&P to taste.
Remove artichokes from water with tongs and let drain upside down in the large bowl.
Cut off tops and pull out middle leaves with tongs. Remove hair from top off heart as it is quite bitter. Spoon out the hearts and set aside. Cut off the stem and place in ramekin. When all are cleaned, chop hearts and add to meat mixture. Return skillet to heat for 5 mins. to make sure it is hot and spoon into cleaned artichokes. Sprinkle each with parmigiano and broil on high until cheese is slightly browned.
Serve straight from the oven with soup on the side. Remember to remind guests that they can eat the large soft ends of the leaves, I like to dip them in my soup 🙂 Pheww that was a long one but well worth it. Hope you enjoy, Good-for-You Gourmet! xO