Artichoke Soup with Cashew Cream
This soup is one of those happy accidents that occurs when you have a random assortment of ingredients and a wicked craving for warm soup. It started with artichokes of course. Mr. B’s fondness for the large green thistles is well documented. Four large specimens called to us from the fridge and we proceeded to have artichokes two nights in a row. The first night we went the standard route of steaming the chokes. Sadly, the results were just okay, lacking flavor and tenderness. It was the fault of the chokes and not the method, but with two remaining we decided to try a different way of cooking. We brought out the big gun- the pressure cooker.
After following Kalyn’s instructions for cooking artichokes in a pressure cooker, we were astounded by the results. Packed with flavor the tender chokes were so much better than the previous night’s batch. The pressure cooker concentrated the artichoke flavor with superb results. Cleaning up the dishes, Mr. B hesitated before throwing out the liquid left in the pressure cooker. “Do you think we could make soup with this?” he asked. The glowing green liquid beckoned and I replied, “Sure, why not?”.
Visions of a sophisticated soup sprang to mind. Creamy and smooth with a vibrant flavor of artichoke and lemon- it would be the perfect soup for brightening up a cold winter night. Enter random ingredient #2: cashew cream. If you haven’t run across cashew cream yet then you are in for a treat. I had never heard of it until we made the switch to a vegan diet. It is a superstar ingredient of vegan cooking, one that I would happily use in place of heavy cream even if I was eating dairy. Prepared by simply soaking raw cashews overnight and then pureeing them with a little water in a blender, this nutty thick cream adds a fantastic flavor and texture to creamy dishes. So far cashew cream has starred in broccoli, mushroom, and artichoke soups with much fanfare at our house. Any leftover cream can be frozen, waiting for the next time you feel like soup.
With the random ingredients assembled our soup came together in no time. Creamy, light, and full of flavor it was everything we hoped for and more. In fact it was one of those random meals that turned into a regular favorite. Thin in body yet rich in texture the soup makes an excellent starter course before dinner. Over the holidays we found ourselves buying more artichokes and hoarding the leftover liquid just so we could make soup again. It is a two for one deal with a satisfying meal of hearty artichokes one day and a comforting soup the next. So if you are a fan of artichokes and have a hankering for soup, this is the way to go!
Cashew Cream Print Recipe
I make a big batch of cashew cream and freeze it in generous 1 cup portions to pull out and use later. This works beautifully as a cream substitute in soups.
Serves 2 1/4 Cups
- 2 cups Raw Cashews (do not use roasted or salted)
Artichoke Soup with Cashew Cream Print Recipe
*Artichoke Broth is the leftover liquid from cooking artichokes in a pressure cooker. If you do not have enough artichoke broth add in vegetable broth to equal 12 cups.
- 2 teaspoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Leeks, white parts only, cleaned and chopped
- 1 cup Diced Onion
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Minced Garlic
- 12 oz Frozen Artichoke Hearts
- 2 Medium Potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 12 cups Artichoke Broth*
- 1 cup Cashew Cream
- 1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provence
- Salt and Pepper to Taste