Fresh herbs and shallot blended with feta cheese make a wonderful filling for the meaty bottom portions of artichokes.
2 cups water
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
8 medium artichokes
1 large package (8 ounces) cream cheese
1 large egg yolk, beaten
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1. In a large saucepan, combine the water, chicken broth, oil, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf.
2. Wash and trim the artichokes. Cut off the stem at the base and pull away all the leaves until you come to the inner cone of pale, purple-tipped leaves. Slice off the cone at its base, creating a flat, round portion of artichoke. Smooth the outer surface by shaving it with the blade of a paring knife. As you finish each artichoke, drop it into the prepared liquid.
3. Place over high heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes or until tender when pierced. Lift out the artichoke hearts with a spoon and allow them to cool.
4 . Preheat the oven to 400°. Generously butter a shallow baking dish. Scoop any traces of the fuzzy chokes away from the hearts with a metal spoon. In a small mixing bowl, blend together the cream cheese and egg yolk. Add the feta cheese, shallot, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Mix well and spoon into the cavity of each artichoke. Place in the prepared pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is slightly puffed and browned.