Cream of Artichoke Soup with Hazelnuts
Creamy and elegant, this soup is supremely satisfying. Jonathon Sawyer served it at his Beard House dinner in December of 2011.
4 to 6 servings
- Poached Artichokes:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
- 1 small celery stalk, roughly chopped
- 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
- Salt to taste
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 cup Chablis
- 3 artichokes, trimmed and cleaned
- 3 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk, divided
- 2 tablespoons roasted hazelnuts plus more for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 artichoke, trimmed and cleaned
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh herbs, such as chervil or parsley, for garnish
To make the poached artichokes, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the fennel, celery, onions, and salt; sauté until the vegetables are tender, stirring often to prevent them from browning, about 5 minutes. Add the water and Chablis and bring to a simmer; continue simmering for 10 minutes. Add the trimmed artichokes and lightly simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let the artichokes cool to room temperature in the liquid. Reserve.
To make the soup, start by making a béchamel: melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Meanwhile, heat 2 cups of the milk in a separate pan until it’s just about to boil. Add the hot milk a cup at a time to the butter mixture. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Add the hazelnuts and cook for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and nutmeg.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a separate pan over medium heat. Slice 2 of the reserved poached artichokes and half of the raw artichoke. Sauté the artichoke slices in the butter over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent them from browning, for 20 minutes.
Add the sautéed artichokes and béchamel to a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth. Pass the soup through a fine-mesh sieve.
Bring the remaining milk to a boil in a small pot; stir it into the soup. Stir in the cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Dice the remaining poached artichoke and stir into the soup.
Dice the remaining raw artichoke bottom. Portion the soup into bowls. Garnish with herbs, raw artichoke pieces, and toasted hazelnut slivers.