Updated: Jun 3, 2020
A monster artichoke plant dominated my garden for a few years. Eventually, it crowded out my herbs, and sadly, I had to uproot it. But here is a photo of some of the artichokes I harvested from that monster plant, halved, cleaned, and ready to be braised on the stovetop or in the oven. There is a clove of oil-braised garlic in the middle of each artichoke. The trick to preventing browning after the artichoke is cut is to rub it with lemon juice.
Here is my method for making braised artichokes. Lay a whole artichoke on its side and cut off the top portion. Trim off the scrawny leaves near where the stem attaches. Then inspect the remaining leaves, snipping off any thorns with scissors. Cut off the stem -- it is delicious -- and cook it with the artichokes.
Cut the artichoke in half lengthwise and scoop out the hairy choke. Make sure to clean out the spiny, immature white leaves (they're usually tipped with purple). Smaller, young artichokes don't have as many spines, and often their immature leaves are not spiny, so you don't have to remove them.
Immediately rub the cut artichoke with half a lemon, or submerse it in a bowl of water that has the juice of a whole lemon added to it.
Arrange the artichokes, cut side up, in a shallow roasting pan or a skillet that has a lid. Drizzle with more lemon juice, some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place a clove of garlic in each artichoke, if desired. (You can also include slices of onion). Add enough water so that it's about a quarter-inch deep. Cover. You can either braise the artichokes on the stovetop (low heat) or in the oven at about 325 degrees. Depending on the size, this could take anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes. They're done when you can easily pierce the heart with a knife.
Here is a picture of me using a melon scoop to clean out the hairy choke and the spiny purple leaves: