This is a good and healthy bowlful of soup for a primo. Be sure to include some of the artichoke stems as they too are rich in iron. Have a bowl of water with some lemon squeezed in on the side to keep the outer artichoke leaves that you strip away and would otherwise discard. (Later you can dip the tender bottoms of these leaves in olive oil and a little salt as a snack.) I like to serve this soup with small squares of bread fried in olive oil until golden.
Put the potatoes, onion, celery, carrot, water and olive oil in a large pot. Season with salt and bring to the boil.
Meanwhile, clean the artichokes. Cut off the stems and strip away the outer woody part of each until you reach the paler tender part. Chop these up and put in the pot. Now, strip away the outer leaves from the artichokes until you reach the more tender inner ones, then cut off and discard the top third of each. Now is a good time to taste a leaf and check you’ve gone far enough in to be able to eat the whole leaf without having any fibrous bits left in your mouth. Cut the artichokes in half, then cut out and discard the hairy choke. Give the artichokes a quick rinse and then chop up in large chunks directly into the pot.
Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Using a hand-held blender, purée until completely smooth. Check that the consistency is good, adding a little hot water if it seems too thick. Taste for salt. Serve hot, with an extra drizzle of olive oil, some grated parmesan, a few grinds of black pepper and the mint leaves torn over each bowl.
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