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Artichoke And Wild Thyme Soup

Courses: Soup
Serves: 8 people

Recipe Ingredients

2   Artichokes or 5 small violet artichokes (large)
1/2   Baguette
1   White onion (large)
5 tablespoons 75mlOlive oil
1 3/4 oz 49gShort-grain rice
1   Flat-leaf parsley - tied with string
1   Farigoule* or common thyme - tied with string
1 cup 237mlHeavy cream - very cold
  Salt - to taste
  Freshly-ground black pepper - to taste

Recipe Instructions

Several hours in advance: Cook the artichokes in boiling salted water, 1 tablespoon coarse salt per quart for approximately 45 minutes, just until the leaves can be easily pulled off. Begin to check for doneness after 30 minutes. During this time, cut the baguette into thin slices and toast them.

Finely dice the onion. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook until tender over low heat. Do not let the onion brown. When tender, add 1 quart salted water. Turn the heat up to high. At the first boll, add the rice, parsley, and all but 6 thyme sprigs (to be used for decoration). Lower the heat and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, until the rice is tender.

As soon as the artichokes are cooked, drain them and remove the leaves. Scrape off the flesh from the largest leaves with a spoon. Take advantage of this time to serenely suck on the smallest leaves (they are so good) while removing the choke and trimming it off the bottoms. Place the bottoms and the flesh into the cooked soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then remove the parsley and thyme. Puree the soup, either with a food processor or immersion blender, to obtain a veloute -- a creamy, smooth consistency.

Put the heavy cream in a large chilled bowl and whip it either with an electric beater or a hand whisk. Stop as soon as the cream begins to take on very soft peaks. (If you prepare this soup in advance, store the soup and whipped cream separately in the refrigerator.)

Just before serving: Bring the soup to a boil. Season with a pinch of salt and grind of pepper. Pour the soup into a soup tureen. Dollop the whipped cream on top. Serve immediately. (Only very lightly blend the soup with a ladle at the table just before serving.) Serve the toasted baguette slices on the side.


Note Shopping: Farigoule or farigoulette is wild thyme. If unavailable, use the freshest common thyme available.

Wine suggestion: With soup, it is possible to forego the wine. If you wish to fill your guests' glasses, a white cassis, chilled to 46 to 50 degrees, will offer a good marriage of fragrances.

"Cookbook Digest, May/Jun, 1999"


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