A symphony of taste and texture that you have to experience yourself to fully appreciate, my gluten free shrimp stuffed artichokes are a nod to the beloved Italian influence within the south Louisiana culture. This kitchen labor of love recipe doubles or even triples easily. So, you can make a couple for you or whip up a big batch for a party or food gifts whenever the mood strikes you. Yep and yay...
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These Gluten Free Shrimp Stuffed Artichokes Were Tugging at My Heart Strings, Y'all...
When I was still too young for school, I spent every waking minute with my mom. She was a stay-at-home mom most of my life, and she took her job very, very seriously.
She woke up early to cook me breakfast. And she always made a little something for lunch, and something big and almost always south Louisiana special for dinner. Yep. In-between her daily meal preparations for the day, my mom did housework, paid bills, and did all of our household grocery shopping.
She also begin teaching me how to read and write when I was three years old. And by the time I was four, I could read kid's books in a day or so. I was also tenacious enough to attempt to read any of my mom's adult books that I could get my hands on, even though I couldn't always understand them.
So, we sat at the kitchen table together a whole lot during my young life. Eating, drinking homemade lemonade and root beer, and reading books in long, satisfied silences that I've never experienced with anyone other than my sweet and super-loving Cajun mom.
We also went to the grocery store a lot. She put me in the front seat of the shopping cart. Then, she wheeled me around the store humming and sometimes singing her favorite gospel hymns.
I got so used to her singing that it didn't affect me much during our grocery store trips. But, sometimes strangers would come up to her, holding back tears, telling her how much her humming or singing the hymns really lifted them up at the exact time that they needed it.
I am amazed, looking back on it now, of how incredibly special my mom's little grocery store ministry was during my childhood. She touched a whole, whole lot of lives during those years. And she made something as mundane and routine as buying groceries a day-changing, and maybe even life-changing, experience for more people than she could ever, ever know.
Sometimes during those shopping trips, my mom would also pick up one or two stuffed artichokes from the grocery store deli. And, we would go home, pick up the groceries, and sit down at our kitchen table to eat them in our oh sooo happy, satisfied mother-daughter silence.
These Gluten Free Shrimp Stuffed Artichokes Have Been a Long, Long Coming, Y'all...
Little did I know in my early childhood about the gluten-intolerant days that were to come later in my life. I had hints of the intolerance, though, from as early as I could remember. I used to pull the breading off of anything my mom fried, and just eat the seafood, meat or veggie that was underneath all of that gluten. And, I would eat tuna or chicken salad right off of the bread. And then I would sneak the bread in the trash when my mom wasn't looking.
Fast forward a whole lot of gluten free years later, I realized that I'd never even attempted to make gluten free stuffed artichokes. I used to think that they were Cajun, because they are sold at most seafood marts and restaurants throughout south Louisiana. So, I didn't find out that they are actually Italian in origin til I was much, much older. And that the dense Italian-American population in south Louisiana had influenced them being sold at Cajun spots in our area.
Honestly, I think I stayed away from making them for so, so long is that I didn't want to ruin those precious memories with my mom by making a bad batch. So, I took my old sweet time developing this recipe. While the base of the recipe is sheer Italian perfection, the rest of it is a nod to my beloved Cajun mother who gave me my intense love of our motherland's food and culture.
These Gluten Free Shrimp Stuffed Artichokes are Sooo Worth the Time They Take, Y'all...
Truth be told, these gluten free shrimp stuffed artichokes are a time commitment. First, I cleaned the artichokes, then I boiled them for 30 minutes. Once they were tender, I (I mean Mark) trimmed them to get them ready for stuffing.
Next, I put the Cajun trinity, hot sauce, shrimp liquor, seasonings and half of the shrimp in the blender. The reason I did this is because stuffed artichokes have a tendency to get really dry, really fast. The tender juiciness of the artichokes was just as important as the taste to me So, of course I took the extra time to ensure that every bite was melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.
Then, I poured the blender contents into a cast iron skillet, and added the rest of the whole seasoned shrimp to the pan. I cooked that down for just a few minutes before adding the seasoned homemade gluten free breads that I made in the oven.
Once the artichokes were stuffed, I baked them in a seasoned water bath until they were cooked through, and browned and bubbly on top.
I couldn't wait to get one to my parent's house so that my mom could taste them. Since she was my inspiration, I just had to have her approval before I published this post.
Well, she said that I did a good job, ya'll!! She was impressed by their taste, but she was even more impressed by their moist and tender texture. And my dad really liked them, too. She took a few stuffed leaves of the artichoke off, and gave the rest to him. Well, my dad ate the rest of the stuffed artichoke before coming up for air!! So, now that they're double parent approved, it was time to share them with you.
These gluten free shrimp stuffed artichokes are precious to me in so many ways, y'all. They bring back so many memories, and they make me want to make more memories with the people that I cherish in my life. And I hope that they become the same for you. Share with those whose unconditional love, unwavering faith, and selfless generosity have made you the person you really are deep, deep down in your secret place. And see y'all on the yum side...
Gluten Free Shrimp Stuffed Artichokes
- 2 medium artichokes
- 1 pound defrosted frozen shrimp with shrimp liquor
- ¼ cup shrimp liquor or water
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 small onion
- ½ red bell pepper, seeded
- ½ green bell pepper, seeded
- ½ teaspoon Crystal hot sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon fresh or dried parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
- 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, divided
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 ½ to 2 cups gluten free bread crumbs (see notes)
- 1 to 2 cups water (for the water bath)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Cut the bottoms off of the artichokes so that they lay flat.
- Add the artichokes to the boiling water. Boil for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the artichokes turn military green, and are fork tender.
- Drain the artichokes upside down in a colander until all of the water is released out of each one. When the artichokes are cool to the touch, trim each one so that it is ready to be stuffed.
- While you are boiling the artichokes, season the shrimp with the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and SP&C to taste. Set aside. If you use defrosted shrimp, reserve the shrimp liquor from the bottom of the bag.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Pour the shrimp liquor or water, half of the seasoned shrimp, celery, onion, green and red bell pepper, hot sauce, garlic cloves, SP&C, parsley, green onion and half of the Parmesan cheese into a blender or food processor. Process until mixture is well-incorporated. It will be very thick.
- Pour the mixture into a heated cast iron skillet. Add the other half of the seasoned shrimp. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the shrimp turn opaque. Remove skillet from heat.
- Add the bread crumbs, and stir until incorporated.
- Fill the center of each hollow artichoke with the shrimp/bread crumb stuffing. Pull out the leaves of both artichokes, using a spoon to fill as many leaves as possible with the stuffing.
- Pour the 1 cup of water into the bottom of your enameled cast iron skillet. Add SP&C to taste, and half of any shrimp liquor that you might have. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then remove cover and bake until the stuffing is cooked through and the top of each artichoke is browned and bubbly. IMPORTANT: Check on the artichokes about 20 minutes into baking, to make sure that the water hasn't evaporated out of the bottom of the pot. If it has, add more water. Recheck the water when you remove the cover, too, to add additional water, if necessary.