Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Artichoke Soup from Duarte's Restaurant

Category: Soups
Difficulty Rating: Easy-Medium

Having Artichoke soup from Duarte's is a Northern California Bucket List item. The restaurant itself is a little hole in the wall in the historic Portuguese-American town of Pescadero. Been there since 1890--and kinda looks it!  The nice thing about that is that it is California casual. Great for large families. My three-year old neice stood up in the booth the whole time and everyone just smiled Their artichoke soup is famous! Deceptively simple and  fragrant, it grips you by the nose, and makes you sit down to eat. There is something about the thyme...

Note: Most Artichokes come from fields in Monterey County--over an hour south of Duarte's on Hwy. 101, on the way to Monterey and Carmel. We always go past large spike-y artichoke fields. They look like a teenager's hair in the morning. If the hair was as green as chlorophyll...This is the original recipe as given to Via magazine reporter Jeannette Ferrary by Ron Duarte in the year 2000. I believe Ron has since then changed the recipe to use half milk and half cream. Much lighter now...


4 C water
1 T lemon juice
1 T oil
4 garlic cloves--crushed (2 large, 2 small)
3 lbs artichokes (3-4 medium)
2 C chicken stock
1 1/2 C. half and half (I increased this from the original recipe by 1/2 cup)
1 t ground pepper
salt to taste (start with 1/2 t.)
1 sprig fresh thyme or t tsp dried thyme

Bring water to a boil with oil, lemon juice, and two large crushed garlic cloves. Add the artichokes and cook 45 minutes. Remove hearts and puree in food processor or blender with the stock, remaining 2 SMALL cloves of garlic, salt and pepper. Optional: slice whatever is left of the tender ends of the artichoke leaves into thin strips. Reheat soup with leaves, half-and-half and thyme. Let the soup simmer gently for 20 minutes before serving. Recommended accompaniment: "Cheese, Onion and Bacon Biscuits" coming in next blog...

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