Artichoke Soup

The foggy coastline of Northern California is artichoke country. Like finding small hole-in-the-walls that serve clam chowder in New England, here one can sometimes find local diners that sell delicous artichoke soup.

I first developed a taste for artichoke soup on frequent trips to Pescadero Beach during college. So when I found this recipe in the New York Times, I couldn’t resist.

Over the years we’ve changed it up a little bit, mostly reducing the butter and cream. The soup is wonderfully rich, smooth, and creamy.

Artichoke Soup Recipe

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8.

The recipe can easily be cut in half. We do not recommend using frozen artichoke hearts for this soup, as frozen hearts are treated in an acidic solution, changing the flavor of the soup.

Yum

Ingredients

  • The hearts from 5 large artichokes (see How to trim an artichoke)
  • 5 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 medium size leek, white-and-light green parts only, sliced and rinsed (see How to Clean Leeks)
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots (or yellow onion, if shallots aren't available)
  • 8 oz of Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 12 cups of  chicken stock (if cooking gluten-free, use gluten-free stock) or vegetable stock (for vegetarian option)
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 4 sprigs of parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup of cream
  • Salt to taste

Method

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1 Prepare the artichoke hearts. Peel off the leaves from around the artichokes until you get to the thistly choke in the center. (Note, we save most of the leaves to steam separately and eat dipped in melted butter or mayonnaise. Why waste perfectly good artichoke leaves?)  With a small knife, remove the thistle choke part and discard. Cut or peel away the tough outside skin of the stems and discard.  You can keep one to two inches of the stem on the artichoke heart. Longer stems you can discard. Slice the hearts or chop to a quarter inch thickness.

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Melt the butter in a large, thick-bottomed pot on medium heat.  Add the artichoke hears, leek, garlic, and shallots. Cook until tender, but not brown. Add the peeled diced potatoes and the stock. Wrap the herbs (bay leaf, thyme, parsley) and peppercorns in cheesecloth and place in the pot. Increase the heat to bring the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook uncovered, for 1 hour.

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3 After an hour, remove and discard the herbs. Purée the soup and use a rubber spatula to push it through a fine mesh sieve. At this point you can make ahead and refrigerate until ready to serve. When you are ready to serve, heat the soup and stir in the remaining butter and the cream. Season with salt to taste and serve.

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Adapted from an artichoke soup recipe from Ilo Restaurant in The New York Times, Feb 8, 2004.

Artichoke Soup on Simply Recipes

Showing 4 of 24 Comments

  • Liz

    I love Duarte’s in Pescadero! I moved from the CA Bay Area to Illinois last year and miss the artichoke country. This sounds like a great soup, I will have to try it once we get some decent artichokes in the stores here. Just FYI, everyone should try the Artichoke bread from Arcangeli Grocery, aka Norm’s Market in Pescadero – they also ship partially baked loaves for those that aren’t lucky enough to live in the area.

  • Christelle

    Could I use frozen artichoke hearts?

  • Tara

    Never had artichoke soup, but am printing it out now, thanks.

  • janine

    I made this soup the other night for company and found that the artichoke leaves serve really well as an appetizer with an aioli, and i also used them for a garnish on the soup. Thanks for the great recipe!

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