This simple puree of artichoke hearts in broth with a bit of garlic and cream is based on one served at Duarte's Tavern in Pescardero, California — not too far up the coast from the artichoke growing area around Watsonville and Castroville. I've lightened the amount of cream a bit (okay, a lot!) to bring out more artichoke flavor. You can make it a bit more elegant by adding a full cup of cream, if you like, since it is terribly delicious that way, too. Either way you go, it is one of the tastiest soups imaginable.
Never cleaned an artichoke before? Check out How to Clean Artichoke Hearts for a few tips.
Note: Avoid the cleaning of the artichokes, or make this out of artichoke season, by using a pound of frozen artichoke hearts, which will most accurately convey the fresh artichoke flavor. Well drained and rinsed canned artichoke hearts can also be used in a pinch.
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice or white wine or distilled vinegar
- 1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
- 6 large artichokes
- 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
- Freshly ground black or white pepper
- In a large pot with a tight-fitting lid bring about 1 inch water, lemon juice, and 1 tsp. salt to a boil.
- Meanwhile, cut the stems and thorns from the artichokes. Place the trimmed artichokes, stem-side down and standing, in the pot. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until a leaf pulls out easily from each artichoke, about 20 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Pull off and discard very dark green, outer leaves from the artichokes. Pull off remaining leaves and set aside. Cut off any fibrous dark green parts around outside of heart. Use a spoon to scrape out fuzzy choke. Roughly chop heart and put in a blender or food processor. Repeat with remaining artichokes.
- Use a spoon to scrape off tender flesh from each leaf. Discard leaf and put artichoke flesh in blender with hearts. Repeat with remaining leaves.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat melt butter. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer garlic to blender with artichokes. Set pan aside.
- Whirl artichokes with broth until very smooth. You will need to let the blender run a bit for this to happen—whirl for at least 2 minutes. This will seem like a long time.
- Transfer artichoke mixture to saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer. Add cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
Makes 4 servings.