Sunday, August 5, 2012

Creamy Artichoke Soup

Yes, I know it’s 95 degrees outside and we are making soup but because Artichoke is the main ingredient, it just feels light and fresh.  The original recipe calls for mascarpone cheese which is in the cream cheese family so I just substituted with soy cream cheese and a little soy sour cream for a bit of tang. 

Creamy Artichoke Soup
(Giada De Laurentis modified)

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. pkg. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed  (I only had canned)
2            cups vegetable stock
1/2         teaspoon salt
1/3         teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2            tablespoons plus 1/3 cup soy cream cheese (or 1 T. soy cream cheese, 1 T
                                                                                     soy sour cream and same with 1/3 cup)
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 potato 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 soy sour cream or soy cream cheese and blend again to combine. In a small bowl, stir the remaining 1/3 cup cream cheese 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.
* When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

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