Stuffed Artichokes

Sylvie Atias 

1½ hours 

8-10 serves

Stuffed Artichokes

Stuffed Artichokes. Photo by: Dror Einav

This recipe is part of Asif’s Open Kitchen Project initiative, where cooks who were evacuated during the war are invited to a home in Tel Aviv to cook a dish that they miss from their own home. Would you like to participate? Register here.

Evacuated from Sderot at the war’s onset, Sylvie Atias has been living in Tel Aviv for over six months and feels no rush to return home. “I’ve found work here as an assistant in the hotel’s kindergarten. Plus, I get to see my grandchildren more often. Why should I go back?” However, since the hotel she’s staying in doesn’t have cooking facilities, she misses having access to a proper kitchen. 

Today, she’s a guest in Daniela Holtz’s kitchen, along with her sister Etti, who was evacuated from Ofakim to a hotel by the Dead Sea, but has since returned home. Daniela herself is nine months pregnant.

They exchange impressions with Daniela about local supermarkets where they can find good deals, and during the preparations, they show her each stage of the cooking process. Sylvie insists that Daniela doesn’t need to wash the dishes, declaring, “Now you are our guest.” Daniela enjoys the role reversal, remarking, “In my house, I’m usually the one who cooks. And now, when I see you, I feel like a little girl watching her mother cook. It’s fun.”

Sylvie, who has four children and seven grandchildren, explains: “Today, my children no longer live with me, but I still love to host. When I’m in the kitchen, I put my soul and heart into the food, with great love. My children and grandchildren also love to eat. They know that for Shabbat dinner, grandma prepares their favorite dishes.” Friday meals at her home in Sderot feature a dizzying selection of dishes such as fish, Moroccan hamin (skinha), slices of meat, brain stew, and, of course, all types of stuffed vegetables — which are a favorite of her children. This time, she has chosen to make stuffed artichokes. “This is a dish I mainly prepare for Shabbat dinners or holidays,” she adds.  

When making the stuffed artichokes, Sylvie typically uses chicken bouillon powder, which we have replaced with chicken stock. You can use either. 

Sylvie and Eti cook stuffed artichokes
Sylvie (on the right side) and Etti cook stuffed artichokes. Photo by: Dror Einav

18 artichoke bottoms, fresh or frozen

For the sauce:

½ cup olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped

Approx. 3 cups chicken stock or water

½ tablespoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon black pepper

1½ teaspoons salt

For the filling:

500 grams (1.1lb) ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1 small potato, peeled and grated

½ bunch parsley, chopped

1 egg

4 tablespoons olive oil

½ tablespoon paprika

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon ras el hanout

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

To serve:

½ lemon, juiced


1. Prepare the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a wide pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until golden brown, 20-30 minutes.

2. Add stock or water, turmeric, black pepper and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low heat and cook for 15 minutes.

3. Prepare the filling: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Divide the mixture into 18 equal meatballs and press each meatball into an artichoke bottom.

4. Place the stuffed artichoke bottoms in the sauce so that they are submerged halfway, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low heat, cover and cook until the artichokes are soft and the meat is cooked, about 30 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice on top and serve.