I discovered a new Turkish supermarket this week and was in heaven as it housed not only so many products that I love like 12 types of sheep cheese in brine, numerous amounts of “boerek” phyllo pastry sheets: square, round, rectangular even triangular ones and lots of fresh vegetables that are common to Turkish cuisine such as okra, figs and artichokes – the little long-stemmed ones.
I ended up with a huge box of shopping and have been happily working my way through it – creating new recipes as I go along.
This one is for my vegetarian friends – but also for people who don’t mind using their fingers when they eat – like me – the more it runs down my arms the more I savor it.
OK I’ve outed myself now!
This dish combines the unique taste of artichokes, the juiciness of oranges, the nuttiness of figs and the sweetness of the potatoes. A delight for both your eyes and your taste buds.
It can be served on its own with pita bread or with a sheep’s cheese yoghurt dip with tahini and for those more carnivore: with grilled lamb chops.
Baked Artichokes with Oranges, Figs and Sweet Potatoes
- 3 small fresh artichokes
- 2 medium-large sweet potatoes
- 1 organic orange
- 4 large figs
- 1 shallot
- 1 large yellow onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Olive oil
- 1 TBSP butter
- 1 tsp of sea salt
- 2-3 TBSP honey
- several sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme
- 1 TBSP Sherry – optional
- 1 TBSP Balsamic vinegar
- 1 pinch of chili flakes or chopped fresh chili
- salt & fresh ground pepper
Putting it all together:
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Set a big pot of water to boil having added a chopped clove of garlic, the sea salt, a TBSP of olive oil and a sprig
of rosemary and thyme.
- Wash the artichokes thoroughly and cut of the stems as well as any “bad” leaves along the bottom. Using a very sharp
knife or Japanese cleaver, cut the artichokes lengthwise into 8 sections (6 if the artichokes are very small). Use a small
knife to cut or scoop out the hairy section that covers the heart of the artichoke.
- When the water boils, add the artichoke, bring back to boil and cook on low heat for 4 minutes. Remove the artichokes
to a sieve placed in cold water, drain and place in a bowl until further usage.
- Peel the onion, shallot and garlic, then chop all three into medium chunks. Wash the orange with warm water.
- Roll the orange on the counter top to release the juice. Cut the orange in half, then each half into 3 strips and then
the strips again into thirds, place the chunks into a bowl immediately to retain the juices.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into chunks slightly larger than the orange pieces.
- Remove the herbs from the stems and chop not to fine.
- In a lasagna/casserole pan that can go on the stovetop, heat 1 TBSP of olive and 1 TBSP butter. Add the onion, shallot,
garlic and the orange chunks. Cook of medium heat stirring often so that nothing burns but rather mixes and combines
its flavors. About 4 minutes.
- Add the sweet potato cubes and the artichokes. Stir and cook for 2 minutes on medium-low heat.
- Add the honey and stir for 2 more minutes, now add the Sherry if using and the vinegar. Add the herbs, the chili flakes
or fresh chili, salt and fresh ground pepper 4-6 turns. Stir and cook 2 more minutes until well combined.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Stirring after 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, wash the figs, cut off tops with stems and cut into 8 pieces.
- Remove the casserole from the oven add the figs and stir. Taste one of the potato cubes to check for salt, add more
- Switch off the oven.
- Cover the casserole in foil and replace in the oven until ready to serve.
Sheep’s Cheese Yoghurt Dip with Tahini
- 2 cups of plain (lactose-free if appropriate) yoghurt
- 50 grams of whole sheep’s cheese crumbled
- 1 TBSP Tahini
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Salt & pepper
- Pinch of chili flakes or fresh chopped chili to taste
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp pomegranate sour molasses
- about 1 tsp each of fresh chopped cilantro and mint
Putting it all together:
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Stir and taste.
- Let rest at least 10 minutes – stir and taste again. Adjust seasoning.
- Serve with roasted vegetables and/or lamb chops or kebab.