A great pot of soup will summon friends and family from miles away. This is the soup to do just that! Thick, velvety, yet delicately flavored. The roasted hazelnuts linger with unexpected savor. Well worth the extra effort to scrape the soft pulp from each artichoke leaf!
4 tablespoons hazelnuts
4 large fresh artichokes, cleaned, stems cut even with bottom of artichoke. Slice 1/4-inch off top of artichoke
3 cups water
4 cups fat-free chicken broth
4 tablespoons Wondra flour mixed with 1/3 cup of water
1 cup fat-free half & half cream
1 tablespoon cooking sherry
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
1) Place hazelnuts on cookie sheet. Toast for 5 minutes or until golden. Crush hazelnuts in food processor until very fine.
2) Place artichokes snugly, upright, side-by-side in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add water, bring to a quick boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 30 to 45 minutes, or until leaves easily pull apart from artichoke. Using tongs, remove artichokes from pot and cool. Do not discard artichoke water.
2) Add chicken broth and toasted hazelnuts to artichoke water and simmer over low-medium heat until you’ve completed Steps #3 and #4.
3) While broth is simmering, remove leaves from each artichoke down to the choke, set aside. Using a knife or sharp-edged spoon, remove and discard prickly/feathery choke to expose the artichoke heart. Place clean hearts in a bowl and set aside.
4) Gather artichoke leaves. Hold each leaf by its sharp tip, fresh side up. Scrape out the inner soft pulp, place in the bowl with the artichoke hearts. Repeat process with remaining leaves. Puree the leaf pulp and bottoms in a blender or processor (you might need to add 1/2 to 1 cup of reserved artichoke/chicken broth to help process).
5) Add artichoke puree mixture to broth, stir well. Bring soup to a gentle boil, add flour-water mixture. Stir until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat.
6) Stir in half & half, sherry, salt, and pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls, garnish with parsley, and serve. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional Analysis per serving: 149 Calories; 27 percent fat (4.5 grams); < 1 gram saturated fat; 24 percent protein; 49 percent carbohydrate; 4.7 grams fiber.