Heart of Artichoke Soup

6 to 8 large globe artichokes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 cups chicken stock (homemade or quality store-bought)

1/4 cup diced onion

1 cup all-purpose cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut 3/4 inch off top of each artichoke and trim stems. Under cold running water, force leaves apart to expose the prickly choke in the center.

With a pointed teaspoon, scrape and remove all the fuzzy prickles.

Put 2 inches of water in a very large, non-aluminum pot. (If you have a vegetable steamer, place it in the bottom of the pot.)

Add the salt, pepper, garlic, oil, and lemon juice; cover, and bring to a boil. Place artichokes, top down, in the water. Cover, and steam 30 to 40 minutes until tender when pierced with a paring knife. (they should be tender, but not mushy).

Remove leaves. Julienne 8 to 10 soft leaves and set aside. Remaining leaves can be served chilled with hollandaise sauce or anchovy mayonnaise, or scrape off the base of the leaves for more artichoke flesh and set aside.

Carefully scrape away any remaining prickles on artichoke hearts.

Puree artichoke hearts (and reserved flesh from leaves, if you wish) in food processor or blender. Add chicken stock and blend until smooth.

Bring stock and diced onion to boil; simmer 5 minutes. Turn heat to low and stir in cream. (Do not let soup boil.)

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with julienned artichoke leaves.

Serves 4 to 6.

- Adapted from Duarte's Tavern, Pescadero, Calif.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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