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Leek and Artichoke Soup

22 April

1-2 medium size artichokes
1 cup water, with juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 medium size leeks, white part only, washed and sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 small new potato, quartered and thinly sliced
6 lettuce leaves, sliced into 1/4-inch strips or a handful of sorrel leaves, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 mint leaves, chopped
sea salt
5½ cups water
1 pound fresh peas, shucked or 1 cup frozen peas

The Garnishes:
freshly ground black pepper
chopped chervil or parsley
olive oil
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Trim the artichokes. Break off the tough outer leaves and slice off the top 2/3 of remaining inner leaves. Trim the outsides, cut the artichoke in quarters and remove the chokes. Dice the trimmed hearts into small pieces. Put them in the lemon water as you work. Keep the garlic cloves whole.
2. Warm the olive oil and leeks, add the artichokes, garlic, potatoes, lettuce or sorrel, parsley, and mint. Season with salt, add ½ cup water and stew gently until vegetables are wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the peas and the rest of the water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently, partially covered, for 20 minutes or until artichokes are cooked. Taste for salt.
3. Blend the soup or leave it and serve with a few god pinches of chervil or parsley, a spoonful of olive drizzled into each soup plate, and a dusting of cheese.

Serves 4

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