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Friday, November 30, 2012

Making Artichoke Soup - Update

Today I made artichoke soup for the very first time. The soup required vegetable stock and I didn't have any on hand. I could have probably gone to the nearest supermarket and bought canned vegetable stock but I chose to make it from scratch. This would make the recipe have the freshest stock without any unnecessary added ingredients such as artificial flavors or chemical terms I am not familiar with.

To make the vegetable stock I used a few stalks of celery, a few leaves of napa cabbage, an onion, a large carrot, and a white turnip. I also added some salt to the pot. That was it. No other spices or herbs. Just some sea salt. To help enhance the flavor of the soup I let the pot come to a boil and then lowered the heat, allowing the ingredients to simmer for approximately one hour. It was after the vegetable stock was done that I started to make my artichoke soup.

I started out with a small chopped onion and a minced garlic clove and fried them in a skillet with some oil. Then I opened two 14 ounce cans of artichokes, drained the water, and removed them onto a bowl. Then using a cutting board and a knife I cut each artichoke in half and then cut it in half again. I placed the artichokes along with the fried onion and fried garlic into a pot and added the vegetable stock and mixed everything. I let the ingredients come to a boil and then lowered the heat, covered the pot with a lid, and let it simmer for about five minutes. After that was done came the most crucial step in the recipe - to turn the soup into a smooth mixture with no chunks of anything. It's similar in texture as creamy soups like cream of corn, etc. minus the pieces of vegetables inside it.

I do not have a blender so I used a food processor to do this. Trying to save some time I poured a lot of the soup into the processor and turned on the power. As soon as I did that some of the already processed ingredients spilled out of the food processor. Not sure how that happened as there are no cracks in it and the lid was closed but I am glad it did because it taught me a lesson - never put too much into the food processor at once, especially if it contains lots of liquid. So, from that point I did it little by little, removing the mixture into a large bowl every time. Yeah, it took a little more time but at least there was no more mess to clean up, aside from the one I had already made. 

When all of the soup was now a smooth mixture I decided to pour it through a colander to remove any clumps or tiny strands of artichoke. That took time as well but it was very much needed as there were clumps to discard at the end. 

Having finished with the food processor and the removal of unnecessary clumps I poured the contents back into a pot and added the half-n-half along with some butter, which I melted in a sauce pan. I stirred everything and then placed the pot into the fridge with the lid covered. I let it sit in the fridge for 3-4 hours before eating the soup as it's meant to be consumed chilled.

When it came time to eat the soup, I poured myself a large bowl and garnished it with a few olives. This was done purely for photo purposes. Garnishing the artichoke soup with olives made it look even better. I removed them when I was done taking the photo. I wonder though how the soup would taste if I actually put chunks of olives in it. Maybe I will try it next time. There is still a lot of soup left to eat.

Here is a photo of my artichoke soup. For the full recipe click here.

Chilled Artichoke Soup

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