Maltese Artichokes and Peas Recipe with Beef Stock and Smoked Ham

Artichokes and Peas

Maltese Artichokes and Peas Recipe with Beef Stock and Smoked Ham
Region / culture: Malta | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 45 minutes | Servings: 4


Artichokes and Peas
Artichokes and Peas

Artichokes and Peas is a delightful recipe that combines the earthy flavors of artichokes with the sweetness of fresh peas, enhanced by the savory notes of smoked ham and the freshness of lemon. This dish is a celebration of spring and early summer when both artichokes and peas are at their peak. It's a versatile recipe that can be served as a warm side dish or a refreshing cold salad, making it perfect for any occasion.


The combination of artichokes and peas has roots in Mediterranean cuisine, where both vegetables are staples. This particular recipe, with its addition of smoked ham and a hint of lemon, might trace its origins to Italian or French country cooking, where simple, fresh ingredients are transformed into exquisite dishes. Over the years, it has been embraced and adapted by cooks around the world, each adding their personal touch to this timeless classic.


How to prepare

  1. Remove the tough outer leaves of the artichokes and trim off any spiky tops that remain. Use a teaspoon to remove the choke.
  2. Coat each artichoke in flour and place them in a basin with lemon juice.
  3. Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Add the onion and cook until it starts to soften. Then add the ham.
  4. Drain the artichokes and add them to the pan along with the peas.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, and add a strip of lemon peel. Pour the stock over the vegetables, cover the pan with a lid, and simmer until the artichokes are tender.
  6. If the vegetables start to dry up halfway through cooking, add more stock as needed. Once ready, remove the lemon peel.
  7. Serve the dish hot as a side with fish, or cold as a salad. Sprinkle with parsley and olive oil.


  • For a vegetarian version, omit the smoked ham and use vegetable stock instead of beef stock. You can also add other spring vegetables like asparagus or fava beans for additional flavors and textures.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the best results, choose fresh, firm artichokes and bright green peas. When preparing artichokes, keep them in lemon water to prevent browning. For a richer flavor, consider using homemade beef stock. If the dish is too dry during cooking, add stock gradually to maintain moisture without making the vegetables soggy. Lastly, removing the lemon peel before serving ensures that the citrus note remains subtle and does not overpower the other flavors.

Serving Suggestions

This versatile dish can be served warm alongside grilled fish or chicken for a complete meal. As a cold salad, it pairs beautifully with crusty bread and a glass of white wine for a light lunch or appetizer.

Cooking Techniques

Simmering the vegetables with a lid on allows them to cook gently and evenly, preserving their natural flavors and nutrients. Browning the onions and ham before adding the other ingredients adds depth to the dish's overall taste.

Ingredient Substitutions

If fresh peas are not available, frozen peas can be used as a convenient alternative. Pancetta or bacon can replace smoked ham for a different flavor profile.

Make Ahead Tips

This dish can be prepared a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. If serving cold, simply bring it to room temperature before serving. If serving warm, gently reheat on the stove with a splash of stock to keep it moist.

Presentation Ideas

Serve in a beautiful ceramic dish to highlight the vibrant colors of the artichokes and peas. Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon zest for an extra touch of freshness and visual appeal.

Pairing Recommendations

A crisp, dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio complements the flavors of this dish beautifully. For a non-alcoholic option, a lemon-infused sparkling water would be refreshing.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place in a saucepan over low heat, adding a little stock or water to prevent drying out. Stir occasionally until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Artichokes and Peas contains approximately 180 calories, making it a light yet satisfying option that can fit into various dietary plans.


This dish is relatively low in carbohydrates, with the primary sources being the peas and artichokes. A serving contains approximately 20g of carbohydrates, making it a suitable option for those monitoring their carb intake.


The olive oil and smoked ham contribute to the fat content of this recipe, totaling about 10g of fat per serving. The majority of this is monounsaturated fat from the olive oil, which is considered a healthy fat.


Each serving of Artichokes and Peas provides around 8g of protein, coming from the peas and ham. This makes it a good side dish to complement a protein-rich main course.

Vitamins and minerals

This dish is rich in vitamins C and K, thanks to the artichokes and peas. It also provides a good amount of folate, iron, and magnesium. These nutrients support overall health, including immune function and bone health.


This recipe is free from common allergens such as gluten, nuts, dairy, and shellfish. However, those with sensitivities to legumes should be cautious due to the peas.


Overall, Artichokes and Peas is a nutritious dish that offers a good balance of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients. It's low in calories and carbohydrates while providing beneficial fats and a moderate amount of protein.


Artichokes and Peas is a delightful and nutritious dish that celebrates the flavors of spring and early summer. With its simple ingredients and versatile serving options, it's a perfect addition to any meal, offering a balance of flavors, textures, and nutrients. Whether served warm or cold, it's sure to be enjoyed by all.

How did I get this recipe?

I can't forget the moment I stumbled upon this recipe for Artichokes and Peas. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting my dear friend Maria in her quaint little village in Italy. Maria was known for her delicious home-cooked meals, and that day she was preparing a special dish that she had learned from her own grandmother.

As I walked into Maria's kitchen, I was greeted by the enticing aroma of garlic and herbs wafting through the air. Maria was standing over a large pot, stirring a mixture of artichokes and peas simmering in a savory tomato sauce. The vibrant green vegetables mingled with the rich red sauce, creating a beautiful and appetizing sight.

I was immediately intrigued by the dish and asked Maria for the recipe. She smiled and handed me a worn piece of paper, covered in handwritten notes and splatters of sauce. She explained that the recipe had been passed down through generations in her family, and she was happy to share it with me.

I eagerly copied down the recipe, taking care to note every detail and ingredient. Maria guided me through the steps, showing me how to prepare the artichokes and peas, and how to season them just right. She stressed the importance of using fresh, high-quality ingredients, and taking the time to cook the dish slowly to allow the flavors to develop.

As the artichokes and peas simmered on the stove, Maria regaled me with stories of her grandmother and the traditions of her family. She spoke of how her grandmother would spend hours in the kitchen, carefully crafting each dish with love and care. She shared how her family would gather around the table, savoring each bite and sharing stories and laughter.

I was captivated by Maria's tales, and by the time the dish was ready, I felt like I had been transported back in time to her grandmother's kitchen. As we sat down to eat, the flavors of the artichokes and peas danced on my tongue, bringing a sense of nostalgia and comfort.

From that day on, Artichokes and Peas became a staple in my own kitchen. I would often make the dish for my family and friends, sharing the recipe and the stories that came with it. Each time I cooked it, I would think of Maria and her grandmother, and the bond that food has the power to create between people.

Years passed, and I continued to perfect the recipe, adding my own twists and variations along the way. I would experiment with different herbs and spices, or substitute ingredients to create new and exciting flavors. But no matter how much I tinkered with the recipe, the essence of Maria's original dish remained at its core.

Now, as I sit here reminiscing about that fateful day in Maria's kitchen, I am filled with gratitude for the gift of her recipe. It has brought me joy and connection, and has allowed me to create lasting memories with the people I love. And as I share this story with you, dear reader, I hope that you too will be inspired to cook with love and share your own culinary traditions with those around you. For in the end, it is not just the food that nourishes us, but the stories and memories that come with it.


| Artichoke Recipes | Ham Recipes | Lemon Peel Recipes | Maltese Meat Dishes | Maltese Recipes | Pea Recipes |

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