I’ve always been scared of artichokes.  They remind me of poison berries, inviting you in with their beauty only to strike after it’s too late. (Well, maybe this is a little dramatic, but life seems more barbaric when reading the Hunger Games).

As a child I simply wouldn’t eat them based on appearance alone.  Although beautiful, they qualified as unusual and the only different things I ate were macaroni shapes from a Kraft box.  Even when disguised, smothered in cream and cheese, and transformed into artichoke and spinach dip, I steered clear.

As an adult, I stayed away because I didn’t know how to cook an artichoke.  And the threat of a “choke” created nightmares of killing of all my dinner party guests.  Again a little dramatic, but seriously there was some concern – it’s not called a choke for nothing after all.

I might not have been cooking an artichoke in my kitchen, but I happily ate the ones prepared by others.  Artichokes are delicious and their dipping sauces are even more delicious.  It’s not hard to win me over.  Add a dipping sauce to anything and I’m sold.

What I didn’t realize and will be kicking myself for quite some time is that cooking an artichoke is easy.  So easy I’m embarrassed to say I was once afraid.

There is no need for toothpicks or a special cooking stand; just a tasty liquid like chicken or vegetable broth with a splash of white wine. The dipping sauces are just as easy.  Go with butter, creamy cheese dip, or for a healthier option olive oil with garlic and a pinch of basil.

Braised Artichokes with a Butter Dipping Sauce

Serves 2 to 4

You will need:

~ 1 artichoke

~ 1 cup vegetable broth

~ water

~ 4 tablespoons butter

~ 1 lemon

~ salt & pepper

First, cut the artichoke in half (vertical) down the middle.  Remove spiky choke with a spoon and wash clean.

In a large sauce pan (with a lid) add vegetable broth and place artichokes cut side down.  Add enough water to come half way up the artichokes.  Bring water to a boil and simmer covered for 20 to 25 minutes until tender.

While artichokes are braising, melt butter in a small dish and squeeze half of the lemon into the butter.  Taste and add more lemon juice if wanted.

When artichokes are done, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and lemon rind.  Serve immediately with butter lemony dipping sauce.