Global warming

PETER MEIER demystifies the artichoke via a classic French recipe

Global Warming

Artichokes a la barigoule serves 4

The trouble with artichokes is that many cooks don’t know what to do with them. But they are really so easy to prepare. An educated snip will transform an untrimmed artichoke into an altogether less prickly proposition.

You simply pull, trim and snip as described in this recipe, cook them for 20 minutes in boiling water and serve hot with perhaps a Hollandaise sauce, or olive oil and garlic, or cold with a vinaigrette.

This recipe is a variation of a classic French dish which originated in Provence.

Globe artichokes, which belong to the thistle family, originated in Sicily, hence their popularity around the Mediterranean. They bear no relation to the gnarly, potato-like Jerusalem artichokes.


  • 4 large globe artichokes
  • 2 lemns, coarsely chopped
  • 4 tblsp olive oil
  • 3 rashers rindless bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 100ml chicken stock


  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tblsp chopped garlic
  • 150g double smoked ham, finely chopped
  • 2 ripe roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 anchovies, chopped
  • Salt and freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tblsp chopped basil


Trim off stems of artichokes, leaving around 6cm. With scissors cut 1cm from tips of outer leaves. Pull out purple-tinged inedible inner leaves and bristly chokes and discard.

Put prepared artichokes and chopped lemons in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes to prevent discolouraton.

Drop artichokes into a stainless steel or enamel saucepan filled with boiling salted water and cook at a slow boil for around 15 minutes. Remove from pan and leave to drain.

Saute bacon, onions and carrots in half the olive oil for a couple of minutes. Fill centre of artichokes with most of the mixture. Lay artichokes side by side in a casserole dish. Drizzle with remaining oil, sprinkle with a leftover bacon mixture and pour over wine and chicken stock. Cover tightly with a lid and bake in a 180C degree oven for 20 minutes.

When artichokes are almost done, make topping by frying onions, garlic and ham quickly in the oil. After two minutes, add tomatoes and anchovies, and cook for another minute. Season with salt and pepper, and add parsley, chilli and basil.

To serve, cut artichokes in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. Place on heated plates and spoon over the sauce and topping.


  • Article first published in the Sunday Star Telegraph, 22 July 2001.  To view or download PDF of this feature CLICK THIS LINK —> Global warming