Some like soup and sandwiches for lunch. We like it for dinner. We have this combo frequently. It is such an easy meal. Vegetables in the soup. Protein in the sandwich. If you aren’t eating bread, for whatever reason, you could certainly substitute a salad.
Tonight we had J’s request: Artichoke Soup. Everyone usually has something different (but easy) for their sandwich – grilled cheese, grilled ham & cheese, grilled tomato and mozzarella, cheese toast, melted cheese over chicken on 1/2 a baguette. You get the picture. Something from the refrigerator that works. Tonight, J had cheese toast on Italian bread. L had grilled mozzarella, tomato and pesto on sourdough (love that panini maker!). I had grilled cheddar on whole wheat. S had leftover sliced pork tenderloin with mustard on Italian bread. Sometimes, I mandate sameness. Other times, like tonight, we all get to choose.
If I’m lucky, there will be leftover soup for lunchboxes this week. [note: No such luck.]
This artichoke soup can be a light soup or a heavier, creamy soup. The light version of the soup is still pretty creamy because it has a potato in it and it is pureed. I add a touch of cream, but you can add more if you want. I like this soup, but it is certainly no substitute for the artichoke soup at Duarte’s in Pescadero. It is, however, a lot healthier, because theirs is made with quantities of heavy cream (but also, I think, fresh artichokes).
If you want, you can also dress up the soup. I have garnished it with chunks of shrimp. I have also put a spoonful of fresh dungeness crab in the middle and then sprinkled on a gremolata (a bit of garlic, parsley and lemon zest chopped together). Creme fraiche and some fresh tarragon would be nice. A swirl of basil olive oil would be good, too. The possibilities are endless.
Tonight, we mostly had it straight up.
J took the picture above – of L’s plate. When I put the bowl of soup on the plate with her sandwich, I said, “Wow, that looks just like a bunny.” J immediately grabbed the camera and did a little food styling with extra mozzarella for the ears. J & I sprinkled a little basil olive oil onto our bowls for added effect, and flavor (at the top).
1-2 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, medium size, chopped
1 russet potato, chopped
1 12 oz. package frozen artichoke hearts (I use Trader Joe’s)
1 14 oz. can low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
2 Tbsp. heavy cream or more (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
In a medium sized pot, saute the onions in the butter until they are translucent and starting to brown. Add the potato, artichoke hearts, chicken broth, water and tarragon. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and artichokes are very tender. Turn off the heat.
Puree the soup in a blender, in batches. Return to the pot and add heavy cream (optional), salt and pepper (white pepper if you don’t want dark flecks in the soup) to taste.