Sure, you can always steam an artichoke. But the beauty in using the slow cooker is that like most slow cooker-friendly foods, the artichoke can start cooking in the morning before work and then there’s a side dish ready and waiting for dinner. Using the slow cooker and these step-by-step directions also removes a bit of the intimidation factor of these thorny vegetables.
While these artichokes call for the garlic to be mashed into butter to serve, the garlic can also be used in other ways. Mix the garlic into a vinaigrette or mayonnaise and use that instead for the artichoke-dipping.
Into the bowl of a large slow cooker (like 5- or 6-quart), add water, lemon juice, and garlic cloves.
Prep the artichokes: Use a large serrated knife to cut the top 1/3 of the artichoke top. Use your fingers to remove the tough outer leaves, usually the first layer or two of leaves. Trim most of the stem of each artichoke, tossing it into the slow cooker (it’s edible) or discarding it. Fit as many artichokes as you can, somewhere between 5-6 depending on size, stem-side-down. Season artichokes with salt and pepper.
To cook, cover with the lid and cook until an outer artichoke leaf can be easily pulled off, on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours or on LOW for 8 to 9 hours.
Use a spoon to remove the choke of each artichoke, discarding the choke. (The choke is white and purple fluffiness and can lead to choking if digested which is why it’s necessary to remove.)
To serve, melt a few tablespoons butter. Use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic from the slow cooker, mash it, and stir into the butter. Serve the artichokes with the butter, dipping the leaves into butter and scraping the artichoke meat off with your teeth. Discard those leaves and work your way to the heart of the artichoke.