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'Cream' Of Artichoke Soup

When vegetables are pureed, especially with the addition of a potato, what results is a smooth, velvety soup that requires no cream at all.

'Cream' Of Artichoke Soup
Nicole Spiridakis for NPR
'Cream' Of Artichoke Soup
Nicole Spiridakis for NPR

Makes 4 servings

4 cups water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 garlic cloves, crushed

3 pounds artichokes (3 to 4 medium)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 leeks, washed and with white parts thinly sliced

1 medium-size russet potato, peeled and quartered

3 cups vegetable broth

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground pepper

Sprig of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 cups spinach

Bring water to a boil with lemon juice and two garlic cloves. Trim the artichokes: cut away stem and most of the tough outer leaves. Cut about 1/4 off the top. With a spoon or melon baller, remove the fuzzy choke. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the artichokes to the water, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and remaining garlic and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the potato, vegetable broth, salt, pepper and thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer until the potato is tender.

When artichokes are cooked, remove from the cooking water. Remove their hearts by peeling away remaining leaves and add to the pot with the potato and leeks. Add the spinach. Cook a few minutes together, then remove from heat and, using a stick blender or a food processor, puree until smooth. Add a little more water or broth if you want a thinner soup. Taste and then adjust seasonings if necessary.

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