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Artichoke Soup

After trimming the artichokes, drop them into a bowl of lemon water to help prevent discoloration. To ensure a velvety-smooth texture, pass the pureed soup through a chinois. This conical strainer, a favorite in restaurant kitchens, filters out small lumps and tiny fibers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 4 large artichokes
  • 2 1⁄2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1⁄2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • 2⁄3 cup heavy cream, warmed
  • Six 1⁄2-inch baguette slices, brushed
      with olive oil and toasted
  • Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving

Directions:

Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a bowl of cold water and add the rinds. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, trim 1 inch off the stem. Remove the tough outer leaves until you reach the tender yellow inner leaves. Trim 1 inch off the top of the artichoke and cut in half lengthwise through the center. Using a teaspoon, scrape out the furry choke. Cut each half lengthwise and drop the artichoke quarters into the bowl of lemon water.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups of the stock, the wine and thyme and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat.

Drain the artichokes and put them in a pressure cooker along with the potato. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the wine mixture. Cover and cook for 20 minutes according to the manufacturer's instructions. Release the pressure according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add the spinach and let wilt, about 5 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Strain the soup through a chinois into a saucepan and add more stock to reach the desired consistency, then whisk in the cream. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Top each with a baguette slice and shavings of cheese. Serves 6.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.