Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Creamy Artichoke and Green Chile Soup

I had a soup like this at a nearby Mexican restaurant. It was served as a complimentary course, and I was skeptical - artichoke and green chile? But it was delicious; unique and intensely flavored.  So, like a foodie Sherlock Holmes, I wrote down all the flavors I could discern on a napkin and ran home and made my own version that very weekend.

Ingredients:
6 whole artichokes (or about 12 jarred artichoke hearts)
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups vegetable broth
1 whole bulb roasted garlic
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 stick butter
8 oz canned green chiles
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 tsp coriander
Salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup parmesan cheese (reserve 1/4 cup for garnish)

Directions:

Wash artichokes and cut stems at base, then remove small bottom leaves. Trim leaf tips and cut off top two inches (the sharp parts!).  Place artichokes in large pot and cover with water. Boil gently 35 to 45 minutes or until base can be pierced easily with a fork.

While artichokes are cooking, drizzle a large bulb of garlic with olive oil and roast in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes or until soft. Remove and let cool.


Chop celery, carrot, and onion. Place butter in a large pot and melt, then add celery, carrot and onion. Cook until softened, then add vegetable broth and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, reserving 1/4 cup. Squeeze roasted garlic into pot, then add lime juice and coriander.


When artichokes are finished cooking, let cool. Next, scrape edible flesh from each artichoke leaf and place in pot. Remove purple center from each artichoke heart and add the cleaned hearts to the pot. Add cream and with an immersion blender or food processor, puree soup until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Place in bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese before serving.

Tips - It was a real hassle to cook, clean, and remove the flesh from these artichokes!  I am all about cooking with fresh produce, but next time I make this, I'm going to try it with jarred artichokes to save time.  I doubt it will make much difference... artichoke is such a strong flavor that I don't think the fresh will taste much different.  Shoot me if I'm wrong!

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