It has been so cold this week, soup sounded like a really good idea for dinner. I usually make lentil or vegetable soup, but I had artichokes on the brain, so I decided to go with that. I opted to attempt a somewhat healthier version and skipped the cream, potatoes, or cream cheese in favor of Northern Beans as my thickener. I like them for their creamy texture and slightly buttery taste.
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
1 heaping t jarred minced garlic with hot peppers
2 shallots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
4 cans artichokes, drained and rough chopped
(reserve some for garnish)1 can Northern beans, rinsed and drained
32 oz chicken broth
2 T grated Parmesan
2 t lemon juice
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 scallion, sliced thin - for garnish
Sauté the garlic, celery, and shallots in the olive oil and butter until soft and the shallots just begin to brown. You don't need to be precise in chopping the veggies since everything will be pureed anyhow.
Add the artichokes and beans to the pot, stirring in enough chicken broth to cover. Bring up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook until tender, about 20" or so.
I did not use all of the broth at this point because it's easier to thin something later than to thicken it if you used too much, but as it turned out, I did end up using the rest. Another factor affecting how much liquid is needed is your brand of artichokes. I noticed that the Cento seemed to have a lot more packed into it than the brand I usually buy, so depending on what store I'm shopping in, I may need to adjust.
Once everything is nice and tender, go ahead and puree, either using an immersion blender, or doing it in batches in your blender or food processor. Just be sure that if you use the blender or food processor, you leave the vent open for steam.
You can test whether the veggies are ready by eating an outer piece of one of the artichoke leaves. If it still feels a little stringy/fibrous, give it a few more minutes. While you are pureeing is a good time to add more broth. Here is where I also added in the Parmesan and lemon juice.
Return the soup to the pot, stir in a sprinkling of cayenne, and bring back up to temperature. To serve, ladle into bowl and top with some reserved chopped artichoke and a sprinkling of scallion.