As a child, I used to enjoy steamed artichokes. I'd pull the leaves, dip the bottoms in lemon butter, and scrape the meat on the bottom with my teeth. I still enjoy artichoke dip, and I marvel at how chefs break down an artichoke. I've tried it myself and always wonder why I bothered spending over $3 for 3 bites of food. So, I started looking into canned artichoke hearts. They come packed in water, salt and some citric acid to stop the food from oxidizing and turning brown. You get a decent number of hearts in a can for about the same price as one fresh artichoke.
I thought it might be nice to make traditional artichoke dip into a casserole. I started with this recipe that looked pretty close to what I wanted:
So, we have five ingredients: artichoke hearts, parmesan cheese, mayonaise, salt/pepper/garlic powder, and chicken. Then, I saw a recipe with pasta, bechamel, and artichoke hearts:
I decided that a combination of creamy, starchy, and meaty would be good, so I combined the concepts, using the recipes mostly for proportions. My concept:
Make a bechamel. I like whole milk. I usually cook some garlic before adding the liquid. I heat the milk in the microwave before adding it so it cooks faster. Near the end, I add the parmesan, but you can add cream cheese, or whatever you like that does not set you off. I also added some chicken stock and Better than Buillion to thin the sauce and add some chicken taste. Just to help the color a bit more, I added a pinch of tumeric. Salt and white pepper are also suggested.
I rinsed the artichokes thoroughly to help the taste and reduce the additives. I baked and cut up the chicken. I boiled some whole wheat penne for something different. I mixed it all together, topped it with some panko, and baked it at 400 for thirty minutes. Presto - the taste of artichoke dip in a casserole!