I am a big fan of throwing food together in a matter of moments. Sure, I love to go all out with pies, roasts, and other feats in the kitchen, but it is the simple creations that sometimes make time stop in its tracks with their small brilliance. This dish is exactly that. BIG on satisfying flavor, while - after the prepping of the artichokes - taking only a small effort to execute.
Artichokes are one of the esoteric vegetables, right up there with kohlrabi. That isn't to say that I don't enjoy it (because I adore it!), I just mean that I have to prepare with a capital "p" when I want to incorporate it into any dining plans. When I was a child, my mom would make steamed artichokes with an "aioli" for dipping. As part of the new wave of nutrition-minded mothers, she made our aioli out of yogurt, lemon juice, and a touch of store bought mayo. Not bad, actually. I remember relishing the ceremonial aspect of eating this strange & prickly vegetable: layer-after-layer, eating the flesh off the edge of each leaf, and all the discarded leaves piled in square metal saucers my mom would provide. Then came the dramatic finale of digging out the hairy choke so we could indulge in the tender heart. It was certainly eating with deliberateness.
In my recipe I have left the ceremony to the enjoyment of many elements together, like you with your beloveds and some good red wine. I've used baby artichokes (with some modification, you can use regular ones), and after trimming some of the tougher exterior parts and then braising them, you can eat the whole thing....yum!
If you like artichokes in any way - from your mother's cooking or recipes of your own - then make this! You will love it. And when all you have left is the braising liquid, use it as a sauce over pasta or add it to your favorite marinara or stew. Every element contributes new bounty - now dig in. :)