Artichoke Soup

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A Canon of Vegetables

A Canon of Vegetables

By Raymond Sokolov

Published 2007

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If you want to venture beyond this basic politica del carciofo, and avoid fooling with the choke at the table, here is a laborious but brilliant way to go. The soup is powerfully intense in taste. It will also be fiberless and silken if you take the trouble to push it through a very fine sieve.


  • 4 medium artichokes
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6½ to 7 cups chicken stock


  1. Cut off the stem end of each artichoke. Then cut them in half from top to bottom. Rub the cut surfaces with the lemon to inhibit discoloration from contact with the air. Cut out the hairy choke and discard. Brush any new cuts with lemon.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil.
  3. While this is happening, melt the butter in a Dutch oven. When the foam subsides, add the artichokes and toss them in the butter so that all exposed surfaces are coated. Pour the boiling water over them. When the water returns to the boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for a half hour, or until the artichoke bottoms are barely tender.
  4. Add the potato slices, season to taste with the salt and pepper, and continue to simmer, covered, until the potatoes are soft. Remove the artichoke pieces to one bowl with a slotted spoon and the potato slices to another.
  5. Scrape all the edible flesh from the bottom ends of all the artichoke leaves. Add the scrapings to the potato slices. Trim the artichoke bottoms and cut them in quarters.
  6. Process the artichoke scrapings and the potatoes, adding as much cooking liquid to the processor jar as is necessary to speed the conversion of the artichoke and potato mixture into a smooth puree.
  7. Scrape the puree into a mixing bowl. Whisk in the remaining cooking liquid. Then force the mixture through a chinois or other fine strainer into a clean bowl. Whisk in as much chicken stock as you need to get the consistency you want. At this point you can refrigerate the soup. It can be served chilled, at room temperature, or reheated.

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