Cold Violet Artichoke Soup
Creamy artichoke soup is served garnished with artichokes stuffed with a savory mixture which includes vegetables, ham, and foie gras. The stems of the artichokes are wrapped with smoked ham as a simple garnish. Note the alternate serving suggestion: this soup may be served hot or cold. The lower leaves of violet artichokes are colored deep red-violet; other types of artichokes may also be used.
- Baby violet artichokes - 10
- Lemons - 2, cut in half, for rubbing
- Olive Oil - 1/2 cup
- Dry white wine - 1/2 cup
- Chicken Stock - 1 quart
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
- Onions - 1 large, chopped
- Garlic Cloves - 4, crushed
- Dry white wine - 1 cup
- Chicken Stock - 2 quarts
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2 cups
- Reserved artichoke cooking stock - (above)
- Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
- Onion - 3, minced
- Garlic Clove - 1, minced
- Carrots - 2 large, chopped fine
- Leek - 1/2, white part only, cleaned and minced
- Celery Stalk - 2, chopped fine
- Zucchini - 1, chopped fine
- Mushrooms - 6 ounces, chopped fine
- Smoked Ham - 1 slice, such as Parma ham, chopped fine
- Fois gras - 1 ounce, cooked
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2 tablespoons
- Smoked Ham - 2 slices, such as Parma ham
- Chervil Sprigs - 4, torn in half
To prepare the artichokes: Pull off the coarse leaves. Trim the remaining leaves to reveal the heart; scrape away the choke, leaving a cup in the top of the artichoke. Save the trimmings and leaves. Pare the stems and lower portion of the artichoke heart. Rub all over with cut lemon to prevent darkening. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the artichoke hearts and reduce the heat to medium; saute the artichoke hearts briefly on each side. Do not let the artichoke hearts brown. Add the white wine and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Add the chicken stock, season with salt and pepper, and cover. Simmer 8 to 12 minutes, until the hearts are soft when pierced with a knife. Remove the artichokes and drain on paper towels; reserve the cooking liquid.
To prepare the soup: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Put the artichoke leaves and trimmings in the oil and toss to coat. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the trimmings begin to brown. Add the onions and garlic and saute until softened. Cook until nearly all the liquid has evaporated. Add the wine and stir up the browned bits from the bottom; cook until nearly all liquid has evaporated. Stir in the chicken stock and cook 3 minutes. Stir in the cream, reduce the heat to medium, and cover; simmer 1 hour. Add half of the artichoke cooking liquid, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook two minutes. Puree in a blender or food processor. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve. The finished soup should be about the consistency of thin pea soup; reduce over low heat if necessary to achieve this consistency.
To make the stuffing: While the soup is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until just softened. Add the carrots and leek and saute for 3 minutes. Add the celery, zucchini, and mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the ham, foie gras, and cream; cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring gently, until the mixture holds its shape. Stuff the cups in the artichoke hearts with the stuffing mixture. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and set aside.
To serve: Heat the remaining cooking liquid in a large saucepan or saute pan and warm the stuffed artichokes in the cooking liquid. Place 2 artichokes, stuffing-side down, in each soup bowl. Ladle the soup around the artichokes, leaving just the stems showing. Wrap each stem in a small piece of ham. Sprinkle each bowl of soup with extra-virgin olive oil. Garnish with two pieces of chervil.
Alternatively, the soup may be served cold. Chill the stuffed artichokes and the soup in the refrigerator. Place the chilled artichokes, stuffing-side down, in the soup bowls. Whisk the chilled soup until frothy; ladle around the artichokes. Wrap each artichoke stem with a small piece of ham. Garnish each bowl of soup with two pieces of chervil.