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

Recipe Thumbnail

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

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Raw Cashews (do not use roasted or salted)
  • Water

Cooking Directions

Place the raw cashews in a medium bowl and cover them with water. Let the cashews sit overnight. The next day drain and rinse the cashews under plenty of fresh water. Put the cashews in a high powered blender and add enough water to cover them by 1 inch. Blend on high speed for several minutes until the cashews are smooth and creamy. If you have a weak blender it might be necessary to strain the pureed cashews through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of the larger pieces.
The cashew cream will keep in the fridge for three days or can be frozen.

Artichoke Soup with Cashew Cream Print Recipe

Recipe Thumbnail

*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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Cooking Directions

Place a large stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, leeks, onion, and garlic. Saute until the onion is soft but not brown. Add artichoke hearts, potatoes, and broth to the pot. Bring the liquid to a strong simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.
When the potatoes are cooked through reduce the heat to low. Blend the soup until smooth using a stick blender or by carefully transferring batches of soup to a blender. When the soup is smooth, stir in the cashew cream, lemon juice, and herbs de provence. Heat the soup until all the ingredients are warmed through, but do not simmer. A strong simmer or boil will break the cashew cream apart. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as necessary. If you used an unsalted artichoke broth it will take a good amount of salt and pepper to season the soup.
Serve warm. Leftover soup will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Related Posts with Thumbnails