2000s Recipes + Menus

Cream of Artichoke Soup with Porcini

  • Active time:45 min
  • Start to finish:1 1/4 hr (includes making stock)
May 2008
The combination of nutty artichokes and dried porcini mushrooms gives this voluptuous soup a woodsy depth.

For vegetable stock

  • 1 leek, halved lengthwise
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 large carrots
  • 3 celery ribs with leaves
  • 4 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 6 cups water

For porcini

  • 1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms (1/2 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

For fried artichokes and soup

  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 3 large artichokes (2 lb total)
  • About 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 russet (baking) potato
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped scallion
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 oz fresh soft goat cheese (optional)
  • Equipment:

    a deep-fat thermometer

Make vegetable stock:

  • Wash leek. Put all stock ingredients in a 4-quart pot (halve crosswise if necessary to fit) and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a 1-quart glass measure. If you have less than 4 cups stock, add water.

Soak porcini:

  • Soak porcini in boiling-hot water, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain in a medium-mesh sieve, discarding liquid, then rinse to remove any grit. Squeeze out excess water and coarsely chop porcini.
  • Trim artichokes into hearts: Fill a large bowl with cold water. Squeeze juice from lemon into water (reserve lemon).
  • Keep artichoke stems attached. Cut off top inch of 1 artichoke and bend back outer leaves until they snap off close to base, then discard several more layers of leaves in same manner until you reach pale yellow leaves.
  • Trim dark green fibrous parts from base and sides of artichoke. Peel sides of stem (still attached) down to pale inner core.
  • Halve artichoke lengthwise and rub all over with lemon. Scoop out and discard inner choke (fuzzy center and any sharp leaves). Keep in lemon water while preparing remaining artichokes.

Fry artichokes:

  • Heat 1/2 inch oil to 350°F in a small heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Meanwhile, pat 1 artichoke half very dry and cut into very thin slices . Toss slices with flour and a pinch of salt in sieve set over a bowl, then shake off excess. Reserve remaining artichokes (in water) for soup.
  • Fry artichoke slices, stirring frequently, until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Season with salt.

Make soup:

  • Drain remaining artichokes and thinly slice. Peel and chop potato.
  • Cook scallion in butter in a small heavy pot over medium-high heat, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute. Add artichokes (not fried ones), potato, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 4 cups vegetable stock and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Purée soup in 2 batches in a blender until very smooth, about 1 minute (use caution when blending hot liquids), straining through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl.
  • Return soup to pot and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm, covered.

Sauté porcini:

  • Sauté garlic with thyme in butter in a small heavy skillet over medium-high heat until pale golden, about 1 minute. Add porcini and sauté until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Discard garlic and thyme and season porcini with salt and pepper.

To serve:

  • Divide soup among shallow bowls and top with porcini, goat cheese (if using), and fried artichokes.
Cooks’ notes:
  • Stock can be made 3 days ahead and chilled, covered.
  • Soup can be made 1 day ahead and chilled (covered once cool). Fry artichokes and cool, then keep in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat soup before serving.
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