Thursday, 25 April 2013

Leek and Artichoke Soup

This is a delicious, hearty soup without using meat. It is best when you have access to beautiful fresh artichokes but, you can substitute frozen if you don't want to bother cleaning them. I love this kind of soup for dinner with bead and some good olive oil. What more do you need!

You will need:

  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic - chopped roughly
  • 2 leeks - cleaned and sliced 
  • 2 potatoes - peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 tsp hot chili flakes
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 4 fresh artichoke hearts - cleaned and sliced 
  • 1 tsp wild fennel pollen (or crushed fennel seeds)
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 cup cauliflower or broccoflower - broken in small pieces
  • 1 litre chicken broth plus 2 cups water

Step 1: get a large bowl of cold water and squeeze a lemon into the water - you can throw in the whole lemon after. You need to place the cleaned artichokes into the water as soon as you have cleaned them to avoid browning/oxidation. Remove all outer leaves until you reach the soft leaves around the heart. I slice all around the bottom of the artichoke rough base and stem. Take a grapefruit spoon and scoop out the fuzzy choke in the centre. If you are having problems you can slice it in half to expose the choke and cut with a pairing knife. Cut the small cleaned heart into thin slices and put in lemon water while you clean the rest. You will waste much of the artichoke so don't be alarmed.

Step 2: clean and slice leeks, chop garlic, peel and chunk potatoes and break cauliflower into bite size pieces.

Step 3: in a large pot add olive oil and garlic, leeks, potatoes, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Stir and cook 5 minutes on medium.high heat. 

Step 4:  then add lemon zest and juice.

If you can't find fennel pollen just substitute with some crushed fennel seeds.

Step 5: add artichokes, wild fennel pollen, thyme, cauliflower, broth and water. Let come to a boil and immediately turn down to simmer gently 30-40 minutes until all vegetables are soft and buttery.

Enjoy with fresh bread, an extra squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.

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