How to Cook Cream of Artichoke Soup
A few weeks ago I ordered a cream of artichoke soup from a restaurant and fell in love instantly. I wasn't able to find out where the recipe originated from, but the foggy coastline of Northern California is artichoke country. Like finding small hole-in-the-walls that serve clam chowder in New England, in California you can sometimes find local diners that sell delicious artichoke soup.
The recipe I made, called “Creamy Artichoke Chicken Soup”, has 8-10 servings. The preparation time is approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes. It's a hearty soup filled with artichokes along with other vegetables – as well as heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. It tastes great with croutons, and the chicken broth can be replaced with a strong vegetable broth for vegetarians.
The complete list of ingredients is as follows:
- 4 medium fresh artichokes
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 medium russet potato
- 1 small carrot
- 1 small onion
- 1 celery stalk
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ pound (about 2 cups) cooked chicken
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
When beginning to prepare the soup, the first thing you have to do is wash the artichokes, being certain to run water through all the petals as well. Then you tear off any discolored or brown leaves, mostly found near the base of the stems, then tear off the outer petals. Cut off the stems so that the artichoke is flat on the bottom and ready to sit in the pot.
If you don't have a steamer to put the artichokes in (like I didn't), using a stainless steel soup pot is fine. Just put some silverware in the bottom to hold up the artichokes and help them steam. Fill the pot with about an 1 ½ of water, which is only enough liquid to cover part of the artichokes. Wait for the water to boil in the soup pot, then place all four artichokes on top of the silverware along with the two bay leaves to mix their flavors together as they boil.
Next is the lemon. Roll the lemon before you cut it so that it gets extra juicy, then slice the lemon in half. Squeeze both halves over the boiling artichokes.
Put the lid over the pot to trap the steam, letting it cook for about 40 minutes. To tell if the artichokes are done or not, pull of one of the inner petals. If the petal comes off easily, then they're done.
Wash one potato, scrubbing with a brush to clean off the dirt. Dice the potato and leave on the skin for extra vitamins. Wash and dice one small carrot. Wash and dice one onion, peel the skin and take out the core. Wash and dice one celery stalk. Place all the diced vegetables together to one side, or put them in a bowl.
Cook the ½ pound of skinless, boneless chicken.
When the artichokes are done steaming, take them out of the pot to continue preparing them. Tear off the petals one at a time and scrape the artichoke flesh from their bases into a separate bowl. Chop up the heart of the artichoke and put it into the bowl as well. Scrape out and throw away the choke.
Keep the water in the pot, but take out the bay leaves and silverware. Put the artichoke meat back into the pot, pour in the chicken broth and white wine, put in the diced vegetables, and put in the spices (2 minced cloves of garlic, ½ teaspoon of oregano, salt and pepper). Leave out the chicken, cream, and cheese. Boil the soup, uncovered, for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Then puree the vegetables, with their liquid, in a blender or food processor.
Return artichoke puree to the soup pot. Dice the cooked chicken, or tear it into bite-sized pieces, and put it into the pot as well. Stir in the chicken, cream, and Parmesan cheese. Bring the heat to a low simmer, stirring constantly until heated.
Serve the “Creamy Artichoke Chicken Soup” with croutons sprinkled on top.
The croutons gave it an extra crunch which was great because I made the soup a bit too thin. It stored well in the fridge and could easily be re-heated by warming it on the stove. My whole family (except for my little brother, who didn't want to try it) loved the Artichoke soup and I thought it tasted wonderful.