Artichokes à la Barigoule a Provencal Classic
Already joining Gilles Conchy – the Provence Gourmet – at one of his cooking classes in Eygalières assured a fun day ahead. When he dangled the fact that Artichokes à la Barigoule might be on the menu, I could hardly wait for the day to arrive. This classic Provencal dish includes artichokes, salted pork, onions and white wine. What’s not to love about that combination?
The name of the dish derives from the Provencal word barigoulo and French word barigoule, which refers to a saffron milk cap mushroom. Although, many recipe versions do not include mushrooms in the ingredients. Gilles explained that perhaps it was because the artichoke (once cleaned and cut) looks a bit like a mushroom cap. The version we prepared, is below and does not include mushrooms, but is delicious. And, so was the balance of the menu!
Artichokes à la Barigoule Provencal
- 24 small Purple Artichokes
- 3 Onions
- 8 Carrots
- 2 Lemons
- 6 Garlic Cloves
- 300 g (10 oz) Salted Pork (petit salé) or bacon
- 600 g (20 oz) Fingerling Potatoes
- 250 ml (1 cup) Dry White Wine
- a bunch of Parsley
- Bouquet Garni (a stem of parsley, thyme, rosemary and a bay leaf all tied up together)
Prepare the Artichokes:
- Take off the first layers of the artichoke leaves.
- Make sure to remove your leaves all the way to its bottom.
- Cut off the top 3/4 of the leaves left.
- Take the central choke out.
- Keep only one inch worth of the stalk.
- Peel the stalk till no more green appears. Note: If the artichokes are not of a similar size cut the bigger ones in two.
- Place the prepared artichokes in a water bowl including the juice of two lemon juices.
Prepare the Rest:
- Peel and chop the onions.
- Peel and cut the carrots.
- Rinse and cut the potatoes. Note: the size of your artichoke hearts will determine the size of your potatoes and carrots.
- Dice the salted pork or bacon.
- In a cooking pot on medium-high heat, pour 3 teaspoons olive oil, and once it is warm add the diced onions and the diced pork.
- Stir and brown the ingredients slightly for 6-8 minutes.
- Add your wine, pepper, a little salt (you don't need much with the salted pork) and stir another 5 minutes.
- Then add your peeled and crushed garlic, 1/4 inch peeled carrot rings, rinsed and halved potatoes and the bouquet garni.
- Mix all the ingredients together, cover and reduce your heat to a light simmering.
- Cooking time should take 35-40 minutes according to the size of your artichoke hearts. Check the cooking status of all the veggies with a pointed knife. Halfway through the cooking make sure to stir the ingredients and check if the liquid is still simmering.
- Add a glass of water if necessary as the cooking must not be dry.
- Before serving, sprinkle your finely minced parsley.
Part of the thistle family, artichokes flowers bloom a beautiful bright purple colour. However, the edible part of the artichoke is the flower bud. Although artichokes grow wild in Provence, the ones that you buy in the markets and stores are cultivated. The artichoke is one of the ancient Mediterranean plants mentioned as food consumed by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Barbara Ketcham Wheaton writes in her book Savoring the Past: The French Kitchen and Table from 1300 to 1789 that there are notarized records of artichoke beds in Avignon from 1532 onwards, spreading further to plots in Cavaillon, Châteauneuf du Pape and Orange.
Join a Provence Gourmet cooking class in Aix-en-Provence, Marseille and in the Alpilles. Private classes are available as well on an on-demand basis.