The large artichokes at the farmers market were beautiful. I grabbed 3, heavy and still tightly closed.
Should I stuff them, bake them, steam them? Nope. I wanted something quicker to prepare so I decided to make artichoke soup instead.
The hardest part of this recipe is cleaning the artichokes. You want only the tender white heart. Then your about an hour away from eating this delicious simple soup.
In an enameled or heavy-bottomed pot sauté the potatoes and aromatics. When the leeks are soft and the thyme and shallot give off a wonderful aroma add the water and bring the pot to a boil.
Add the artichoke slices and with the pot lightly simmering cook until the potatoes are soft and falling apart and the artichoke slices are tender, maybe an hour or so.
Stir in the chopped fresh parsley and sprinkle each bowl with grated cheese and you’re ready to eat.
The thyme and shallot flavored broth is thickened by the crumbly potatoes. Each spoonful brings the clean and distinctive taste of artichoke, creamy potatoes and sweet leeks splashing over your palate.
You can watch me cleaning an artichoke here. But be sure to follow this recipe once the artichokes are cleaned.
- 3 artichokes (or in a pinch use frozen artichoke hearts)
- Juice of one lemon
- ¾ pound potatoes, peeled and curt into ½-inch cubes
- 1 leek, white and pale-green parts, sliced, washed well
- 2 shallots, chopped (about ¼ cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt to taste
- 2 quarts cold water
- 1 tablespoon fresh Italian flat parsley, chopped
- Grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
- Clean the artichokes.
- Put enough water in a big bowl to cover the sliced artichokes. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze in the juice of one lemon. Put the lemon halves in the water too. (This acidulated water will keep the artichokes from darkening after you clean and slice them.)
- Starting at the bottom, snap off all the tough dark green outer leaves. When you get to the light yellow-green leaves stop.
- Cut off the dark top of the remaining leaves. (A serrated knife works best.)
- With a paring knife cut off the stem and peel away any tough green on the bottom of the heart. You just want the tender white part.
- Cut the artichoke in half and scoop out the choke (the hairy part in the center of the heart) with a pointed spoon or cut out with a paring knife. (You now have a cleaned, tender artichoke heart that is white and light green in color.)
- Peel the dark tough skin from the stem.
- As you clean each artichoke lay the artichoke heart on a cutting board cut side down. Cut each half vertically into ½ inch slices. Slice the peeled stem into slices too. Put the artichoke slices in the acidulated water.
- Put the olive oil in an enameled or heavy-bottomed pot and heat over medium-high heat.
- When the oil is hot add the potatoes, coat with the oil and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Add the leeks and shallots, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaf and sea salt to taste.
- Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about a minute.
- Pour in the water and over high heat bring to a boil.
- Drain the sliced artichoke hearts and add them to the pot. Bring the soup to a vigorous simmer.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and cook the soup uncovered until potatoes and artichokes are tender, about an hour. (The potatoes should have broken down a bit to thicken the soup).
- Stir in the chopped parsley.
- Top each bowl of soup with a sprinkle of grated cheese.
- Serve immediately.