Cream of Artichoke Soup

  • Active Time 25m
  • Total Time 1h 10m

Serves 8

Catherine de' Medicis was the first to popularize artichokes in France when she came to the French court from Italy to marry King Henry II in the late 16th century. In this smooth and mellow soup, only the tender hearts of the artichokes are used. Armagnac adds an extra touch of refinement; if you don’t have any on hand, Cognac or any good-quality dry brandy will do.

ingredients

  • 6 medium-sized artichokes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup (2 ounces) hazelnuts (filberts)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup Armagnac

Companion recipe: Chicken Stock

directions

Cut off the top 1/2 of each artichoke. Trim off the stem evenly with the bottom. Snap or cut off all the tough outer leaves until the pale green tender leaves are reached. Carefully spread the tender leaves open and, using a small spoon, remove the prickly choke, leaving the inner leaves intact. Cut each artichoke lengthwise into eighths and set aside.

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.

Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté until golden brown,

8-10 minutes. Add the artichokes, potato and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cover. Simmer until it is slightly thickened and the flavors have blended, about 45 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, toast and skin the hazelnuts. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Spread the warm nuts on a kitchen towel, cover with another kitchen towel and rub gently against the nuts to remove as much of the skins as possible. Let cool, then chop coarsely and set aside.

Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender or to a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Blend or process on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Strain the pureed soup through a fine-mesh sieve back into the saucepan to remove any fibers. Add the salt, white pepper, cream and Armagnac. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to mix well.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts. Serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 679

nutrition information per serving

431 calories; 36g total fat; 82mg cholesterol; 1128mg sodium; 19g carbohydrates; 7g fiber; 11g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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