Artichoke Soup


The hearts from 5 large artichokes
5 Tbsp butter, divided
1 medium size leek, white-and-light green parts only, sliced and rinsed
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped shallots (or yellow onion)
8 oz of Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
12 cups of  chicken stock (if cooking gluten-free, use gluten-free stock) or vegetable stock (for vegetarian option)
1/2 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs of parsley
1/4 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1/4 cup of cream
Salt to taste


Prepare the artichoke hearts. Peel off the leaves from around the artichokes until you get to the thistly choke in the center. 
With a small knife, remove the thistle choke part and discard. Cut or peel away the tough outside skin of the stems and discard.  You can keep one to two inches of the stem on the artichoke heart. Longer stems you can discard. Slice the hearts or chop to a quarter inch thickness.
Melt the butter in a large, thick-bottomed pot on medium heat.  Add the artichoke hears, leek, garlic, and shallots. Cook until tender, but not brown. Add the peeled diced potatoes and the stock. Wrap the herbs (bay leaf, thyme, parsley) and peppercorns in cheesecloth and place in the pot. Increase the heat to bring the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook uncovered, for 1 hour.
After an hour, remove and discard the herbs. Purée the soup and use a rubber spatula to push it through a fine mesh sieve. At this point you can make ahead and refrigerate until ready to serve. When you are ready to serve, heat the soup and stir in the remaining butter and the cream. Season with salt to taste and serve.
Yield: Serves 8.

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