How could I resist some plump looking artichokes in the supermarket the other day. Well, as they are a faff I can quite easily look the other way. I thought they can’t be that difficult to prepare though, so why not. The sauce a la bigarade is a more savoury version of a l’orange. Cooked with freshly squeezed juice and chicken stock. A sweet and sour caramelised red wine vinegar gives it a wonderful bite.
So, artichokes. There are two schools of thought. Either boil them whole, you can then pull off all the leaves and eat the bottom of the leaves. Or you can do as follows. This leaves you with the full hearts to cook as you like. They do look much better once prepared like this.
Get a strong sharp knife. The leaves are very fibrous and tough. Stab it half way up and remove the top half.
Continue to take the lower tough leaves off with a knife. You’ve gone far enough once you expose white flesh.
The hairy part in the centre is “the choke”. It’s called this for a reason and must be removed. It scoops out easily with a teaspoon. Rub all the white parts with a lemon or they will discolour. Finally trim the stem. Again the outer green part is tough and inedible, but the core of it is edible.
You can now cook these like as you wish. They cook quite quickly, about half the time of a potato. Keep them in acidic (squeeze lemon) water until you need them.
- 2, wrap in baking parchment Duck breasts
- 3 Oranges
- 1 Lemon
- 50g Sugar
- 50ml Red Wine Vinegar
- 500ml Chicken Stock
- 3, prepared as above. Artichokes
- 25g Butter
- 75ml White wine
- Make the sauce. Heat the vinegar and sugar together and bring to the boil. Boil until a sticky mixture is left. Squeeze in the juice of the oranges and lemon. Reduce by half and add the chicken stock. Reduce by half again, season and taste.
- To cook the duck breasts cook skin side down for three minutes over a medium heat. Turn for 1 minute, turn again for 3 mins, turn for 1, turn for 3, turn for 1 and now rest. 12 minutes in total, plus 8 resting.
- As you start the duck breasts, melt the butter and saute the artichokes. Turn up the heat and add the white wine. Cover with a lid and let cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.