Artichoke Hearts / Sauce Mornay.....Very Elegant For A Buffet Or Seated Dinner.

Artichoke Hearts Filled With Wine Beef Sauce Baked With
Sauce Mornay Topping

Today I would like to share with you a recipe I always like to make when I have older folks like myself over for an elegant dinner. Young people of today don't like artichokes and don't know what's good for them! The artichoke is considered to be an expensive, chic, and very healthy vegetable. Any vegetable that turns black quickly contains lots of iron, minerals and many trace elements vital for good health.  Artichokes are also excellent for the hepatic function of the human being. Even the Italians made an "aperitivo" (before dinner drink) called Cinar made of artichokes. The Italians like bitter drinks.

For a party of eight you will need:
-  12 Frozen artichoke hearts.
-  1/2 a lemon.
For the ground beef filling:
-  1 kg of lean ground beef.
-  Olive oil.
-  A pinch of mace.
-  1 cinnamon stick.
-  1 small onion finely chopped.
-  6 small cloves of garlic roughly chopped.
-  A few turns of the nutmeg mill.
-  Salt and freshly ground pepper.
-  1/2 cup dry red wine.
For the sauce Mornay:
-  50 gms good fresh unsalted butter.
-  50 gms. flour.
-  1 cup milk at room temperature.
-  1/3 cup grated cheese ( Gouda, Edam, Emmenthal, Chedar).
-  1 whole egg.
- Salt, white pepper, and nutmeg.
Method for the artichoke hearts:

-  Put the artichokes in the upper part of a "couscousière" (the one with the holes).
-  Bring to a boil the lower part and let the artichokes semi cook in vapour.
-  Check not to over-cook them. When done take them off the heat, let cool to the touch and use the juice of the half lemon to coat each one to prevent them from turning black. Arrange in a baking dish.
Method for the ground beef:

-  Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a deep saucepan with cover.
-  Stir fry the ground beef till it is brown all over and has lost its liquids.
-  Add onion, garlc and continue to stir fry. The reason the onions are added after the ground beef browns is to make the meat easier to digest.
-  When the ground beef is completely brown, add the wine.
-  Let the alcohol evaporate, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool.
Method for the sauce Mornay:  
-  Make a bechamel sauce by melting the butter on very low heat, wait till the bubbles stop, the butter clarifies, add the flour and stir till the desired thickness.
-  Set aside till cool.
-  Add the grated cheese and egg and stir briskly till egg and cheese are incorporated.
Method for the filling and topping of the artichoke hearts:
-  Fill all the artichoke heart with the ground beef including some sauce liquids.

-  Top each artichoke with sauce Mornay making sure they stay separated from each other never mind if some sauce spills on the baking paper as long as each stays separated.
-  Add some flakes of "Chipotle" and bake in a 200 degree centigrade preheated oven for 1 hour.
-  When time is up, if the surface of your dish has not taken a nice color yet, gratinate for 3 to 4 minutes keeping a close can burn in a jiffy!!

Et Voila!!
Enjoy deeply,


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