Chilled Artichoke Soup

Crème froide de coeurs d’artichauts

Inexpensive
Preparation and cooking time: hours (make in the morning ready to serve in the evening)

Ingredients

  • 5 small purple artichokes or 4 large Breton ones
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 200 ml ( pint) whipping cream, chilled
  • A small bunch of very fresh parsley, preferably the flat variety which has a better flavour
  • salt

Equipment

  • 1 large saucepan or stewpot holding 7–8 litres (12½–14 pints)
  • food processor, liquidiser or mouli-légumes

Method

At least 6 hours in advance

Wash and trim the artichokes. Bring 5 litres (9 pints) of salted water to the boil in the large saucepan. Throw in artichokes and boil rapidly for about 40 minutes, or until you can easily remove one of the outer leaves. Remove them and put to drain heads downwards.

Remove the leaves and scrape away the choke at the centre. Only the hearts will be left. They should be quartered and put on one side.

Bring ¾ litre ( pints) water to the boil in a smaller saucepan. Add the stock cube, allow to boil for 5 minutes, and add the quartered artichoke hearts.

Pour the contents of the saucepan into the liquidiser or food processor and blend until you have obtained a perfectly smooth cream. If you use a mouli-légumes strain the resulting cream through a fine wire sieve, pressing down with the back of a ladle. Put the mixture in the refrigerator to chill.

Wash the parsley, remove the stalks and chop the leaves finely. Lightly salt the cream and whisk in a chilled bowl until you have a light froth (but not too vigorously, or it will turn into butter).

You will now have prepared

  • the cream of artichokes and stock
  • the salted whipped cream
  • the chopped parsley

Stir the artichoke purée and the chopped parsley into the whipped cream. Taste and perfect the flavour with salt and freshly-ground pepper. Pour the soup into the tureen and place in the refrigerator to chill until ½ hour before it is to be eaten.