How to cook — and even eat — an artichoke isn’t obvious from first glance at the spiny, flowery-looking vegetable. But help is here: Demi Chef Onur Acar of Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet makes a delicious “Braised Artichoke Dolma” that’s tasty, comforting and easy enough for a weeknight meal at home.
Dolma means “to stuff” in Turkish and Chef Acar’s artichoke is stuffed with onion as well as leeks, radish, Aegean wild grass and other sautéed herbs. Once the artichoke is filled with the mixture, simply top with grape leaves and cook for 60 minutes.
“I love to cook this dish because artichokes are healthy, light and easy to digest,” Chef Acar explains. “And guests love my artichoke dolma because the taste of artichoke balances the taste of Aegean wild grasses very well.”
Believed to be native of the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands, the artichoke enjoys its peak season in the spring and fall, making it one of Chef Acar’s favourite ingredients to cook with. “Mediterranean cuisine is my favorite,” Chef Acar says. “If it’s fresh, l want to cook with it!”
A chef at Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet for 7 years, Acar knew food was his calling at an early age, with many of his family members becoming chefs as well. “I think the most important thing that makes me a chef is my passion in creating something new,” he says. “Even though cooking is my profession, I can also count it as one of my hobbies.”
Don’t miss Chef Acar’s recipe for Braised Artichoke Dolma!