Artichoke and Hazelnut Soup

We make this soup when we have a few cooked artichokes left over, or when we’ve bought a basketful of globe artichokes at a good price. It’s an excellent soup served hot or cold. The hazelnuts give a grainy texture and emphasise the already nutty flavour of the globe artichokes.

Ingredients

  • 6–8 globe artichokes
  • 25 g/1 oz hazelnuts
  • 1.2 litres/2 pints chicken stock
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 150 ml/¼ pint single cream

Method

Wash the artichokes, pull off the stalks and cook in boiling salted water, uncovered, for about 40 minutes, until the bases are tender. While they are cooking spread out the hazelnuts on a baking tray and leave in a hot oven for 5–10 minutes, until they begin to brown. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, rub between the palms of the hands to remove the papery skins. Crush in a mortar with a pestle, or whizz in a processor or blender.

Drain the artichokes well. When cool enough to handle, remove the leaves, one by one at first, scraping the flesh off the bases of the larger ones. When the leaves become small and purple-white, grasp the crown of leaves in one hand, insert a knife between the crown and the base and ease the crown of leaves away. Scrape the soft part from the inner base of the crown.

Pull the choke away from the base in small clumps and discard, scraping off any lingering hairs from the base with a knife. Cut the base into quarters. Repeat with the remaining artichokes. Put the purée collected from the leaves, and the bases in a pan with the stock, hazelnuts, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Process briefly in a processor or blender, then pass through a fine mouli légumes or sieve.

Stir in the cream and adjust seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

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