Ranch-Stuffed Artichokes


3 lemons; 1 zested, 3 juiced (squeezed lemons reserved)
4 large artichokes
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 ounces bacon, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 hard-cooked egg, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 1-ounce packet ranch dressing mix
Freshly ground pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put one-third of the lemon juice and all of the squeezed lemons in a bowl of cold water. One at a time, cut off the top third of each artichoke with a serrated knife, then cut off and reserve the stem. Snap off the tough bottom leaves and trim the leaf tips with shears. Spread the center leaves open and scrape out the choke with a spoon. As you trim each artichoke, place it in the lemon water. Peel and dice the stems.

Heat an ovenproof pot over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and the bacon and cook until crisp, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a bowl; stir in the lemon zest, breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, parmesan, dressing mix and pepper to taste. Stuff into the center of each artichoke and sprinkle between the leaves.

Wipe out the pot; add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the artichoke stems, remaining lemon juice and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Arrange the artichokes snugly in the pot; baste with the cooking liquid and drizzle with olive oil. Cover and bake until tender, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until crisp, about 10 more minutes. Serve with the cooking liquid. 

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