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Creamy Artichoke (& Potato) Soup for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays & "Spud Week"

Posted Mar 20 2011 6:35pm
It's "Spud Week" over at I Heart Cooking Clubs and we are cooking up Giada recipes with potatoes in them. The artichokes hold the starring role in her Creamy Artichoke Soup but the potatoes are a strong supporting player--giving the soup its thick and velvety texture.

I did make a few changes to the recipe. Giada uses chicken stock and mascarpone in her soup but I felt like making my version vegan and used low-sodium veggie stock and vegan cream cheese instead. I also used three cloves of garlic instead of the one clove called for and swapped out the frozen artichoke hearts for the ones canned in water already in my pantry which work just as well.

You can find the recipe at the Food Network site here .

Creamy Artichoke Soup
Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
(Makes 4 Servings)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white part only, washed well and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small potato, peeled and chopped
1 (8-oz) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives, for garnish

Heat olive oil in a heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and the garlic and stir. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the artichokes, stock, salt, and pepper and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Using a handheld immersion blender, or in a blender in batches, puree the soup. Add the 2 tablespoons mascarpone and blend again to combine. In a small bowl, stir the remaining 1/3 cup mascarpone to soften.

Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Dollop the top of each of the soups with a spoonful of the softened mascarpone cheese and top the cheese with chives.

Notes/Results: A very creamy and tasty soup. At the base it is a potato-leek soup but the artichoke hearts add a great tangy taste and the cheese (in this case Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese) adds a slightly sweet creaminess that gives it more a sophisticated edge. (BTW: Although I made this vegan, I doubt that anyone would be able to tell the swap outs--it is still a very rich and decadent-tasting soup and the chicken stock and mascarpone were not missed). This soup is very easy and quick to make--in less than 30 minutes you have a great starter to a spring dinner party or a light lunch. One note--I did find the soup just a bit too thick for my liking when I first pureed it--probably due to the size of potato I used--which was a bit on the medium-large size. An easy fix was about 1/3 cup of unsweetened coconut milk blended in and it was perfectly silky and satisfying. I would make this again.

You can check out how the other IHCC participants showed their Spud Week love by going to the post here and following the links.

Let's see who ended up in the Souper Sunday kitchen on this first official day of spring.

Debbi from Debbi Does Dinner... Healthy & Low Calorie made a warming Beef Stew with Butternut Squash & Chickpeas and says, "Have I mentioned my love of butternut squash and chickpeas? I'm sure I have. I now buy chickpeas in bulk. Is that wrong? I can't tell you how often I'm making something and it crossed my mind "I should add a can of chickpeas to this!" Just wait until I make chickpea cookies!"

My good friend girlichef has two recipes to share this week--a soup and a sandwich (see her sammie entry below). About her Beef and Guinness Stew , she says, "Irish eyes are definitely smiling on me today. Skies are bright and clear with temps near 60° and heading upwards for tomorrow! I'm armed with a case of Guinness and a six-pack of Smithwick's...a pot of Beef and Guinness Stew...a half a loaf of rye...homemade corned beef...and spuds and cabbage galore. I'm off to track leprechauns and pots of gold...explore sparse patches of grass for four leaf a jig. I can feel that trickle of Irish blood that flows through my veins pumping hard today."

Please join me in welcoming Mary Katherine from MK's Kitchen who joins us at Souper Sundays for the first time this week. Here with a Roasted Cauliflower and Brussel Sprout Soup with Crispy Canadian Bacon , she says, "...I had a thought...I wonder what cauliflower and brussel sprouts would taste like together in a soup? I love them roasted together in the oven with some carrots and sweet potatoes, so why not pureed in a soup? I must say with the addition of the yogurt and the walnuts at the end, plus the added saltiness and texture from the canadian bacon - it made for a pretty tasty (and healthy) combination! Along with a simple salad, it provided a great hearty meal on a cold, rainy night."

Another new face to welcome is Shu Han from Mummy, I can cook! , who blogs from Singapore and London, here with Naked Broccoli Soup . Shuhan says, "I'm sure we've all had our own fair share of broccoli and stilton soups, and while I love the savoury richness of cheese with broccoli, I want to really celebrate the flavour of broccoli. This velvety soup has nothing but broccoli in it, no cream, no potato, no stock, no caramelised shallots. It really is just broccoli. But believe me, it's definitely not lacking in flavour or texture. I was doubtful too when I first saw Gordon Ramsay share this recipe, but I tried it, and I love it, and once again, he's a genius."

Shri from Tiffin Carrier Antic/que's! made a healthy and filling Simple Vegetable Soup packed full of good ingredients. Shri says, "This is a simple vegetable soup with thin Japanese Somen noodles. Simply toasted, leftover ciabatta became croutons. Boiled egg slices from breakfast added to this lunch bowl. Dried red chilli flakes and fresh coriander sprigs garnished this dish."

Pam from Sidewalk Shoes is back this week with a flavorful Balsamic Mushroom and Goat Cheese Salad and says, "This was amazing. Beyond amazing. One of those dishes where the output is exponentially greater than the work put into it. Make this. You will not be disappointed. Note: she calls for goat’s curd, which I have no idea what that is, so I just used goat cheese also she called for an assortment of mushrooms, I just used 4 portabellos that I had handy. Also, she tells you to toss the goat cheese, I didn’t, I scattered it on as I served it because cheese must be equally distributed in our house – it’s a rule."

Janet from The Taste Space has a salad in a sandwich this week with her Artichoke and Spinach Rice Paper Rolls with Lemon Rosemary Baked Tofu . Janet says, "So, the first day, I assembled the ingredients into fresh rice paper rolls. The next day, I deconstructed the roll into a salad. I just stuffed the spinach, red pepper, tofu and dip together in a container and brought it to work as a salad. The dip was silky enough to coat the spinach as a dressing. The tofu made it a satisfying main meal. And while I didn’t photograph it as a salad, that was probably my preferred, least stressful way to eat it. But really, do not fear the rice paper rolls."

girlichef cured her own corned beef and made her own bread for a delectable Reuben Sandwich and says, "This is my method of making a Reuben. I always do it the same way. It's the way we made them on our menu (using aforementioned corned beef in my restaurant days) way back and it's the way I've made them ever since. Because they're perfect. Mmmm Hmmm. I said it. Perfection. The only little thing I change up is the bread...using different variations of only rye or pumpernickel."

An excellent group of soups, salads and sandwiches this week. Thanks to everyone who joined in and shared a dish. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details.

Have a great week.
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