Artichoke Soup

Refined and delicious artichoke soup, made from the hearts of fresh globe artichokes, leeks, shallots, yukon gold potatoes, stock, a little cream, and herbs.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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 delicious 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

Artichoke Soup Recipe

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  • 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.

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

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.

2 Cook the artichoke hearts, leek, garlic, shallots in butter: Melt the butter in a large, thick-bottomed pot on medium heat.  Add the artichoke hearts, sliced leek, garlic, and shallots. Cook until tender, but not brown.

3 Add potatoes, stock, herbs, then simmer: 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.

4 Purée the soup, push through sieve: 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.

Showing 4 of 21 Comments

  • Danielle

    I am allergic to Onions, Garlic, Leeks and Potatoes. Any suggestions for altering the recipes above? I usually am pretty creative but these ingredients seem to dominate here.

  • Paula

    This is a lovely artichoke soup. It was the perfect starter course for a dinner party of eight. I modified the recipe, but only slightly. I felt it needed to be just a bit thicker (not much) so I added two beurre manie balls (about 2T butter-flour mixed together. I make these up and keep them in the freezer for just this purpose). I also added a few drops of hot sauce to kick it up just a tad. At service time, I added a dollop of thick, homemade creme fraiche and a few small Parmesan croutons (again homemade) to each serving. Artichokes are pricey in NH this time of year but I can’t resist taking advantage of them when they are in season (counter to localvore trends). They are not only tasty but beautiful to look at in the bowl on my table before they go into the soup pot. Thanks for this recipe Elise.

  • Debi Roybal

    Oh yum! Thank you so much for this recipe Elise. I served it as a starter for our Easter dinner and everyone just loved it.

  • Carol

    Elice, this is an elegant soup, a perfect start to a spring dinner party or a light meal. Baby artichokes and spring onions are at my farmers market so I substituted. I found I used half the butter and no cream like miche above. Even lighted up it was good enough to add to my recipe book with 5 stars. Thank you!

  • Linda Short

    May I use sour cream in place of the cream?

    I’ve never tried it. If you do, let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

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