I am putting aside my summertime blues, at least temporarily.
One day long ago, as I was cruising the aisles at Costco (which is sort of the holiest of shrines for me), I spied a reasonably priced package containing two 32-ounce jars of artichoke hearts packed in water. I thought, fabulous; these will be really handy to have around to put in…well, something…
And a year passed while the jars continued to sit on my pantry shelves. At least a year; my life can be a blur sometimes…
I suppose if they had been marinated hearts, I would have used them up in salads or antipasto lunch plates. Their presence only served to remind me that I’m better off NOT stocking my pantry with too many items, in the hopes they will come in handy eventually. Y2K happened many years ago, and who buys artichoke hearts for emergencies, anyway?
They were still within their sell-by date, however, so I finally got around to doing something with them. This recipe turned out to be quite delicious; a creamy, comforting, easy-to-prepare soup that is perfect as an appetizer, or paired with bread/sandwiches for more of a meal.
Tune in next time for the bread recipe which I have pictured with the soup.
So…I have some empty space on my shelf—what will I buy now? Whatever it is, I need to make a point of using it sooner, rather than later.
Funky Artichoke Bisque
- 1 rather large head of garlic
- ½ teaspoon olive oil
- 32-ounce jar artichoke hearts in water *
- 14½-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 anchovy fillet (or 2 or 3, if you like it fishy)
- 1 cup onions, coarsely chopped
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 ounce Parmesan or Romano cheese, finely shredded
- Garnish: additional red pepper flakes and/or a sprinkling of fresh or dried green herbs (such as parsley or basil; whatever you prefer)
Preheat oven to 400°. Cut off ¾” from the top of the garlic. Place stem side down on a 12″ square of foil. Drizzle with the oil. Enclose loosely and place on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes. Let stand in the foil until cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, combine the artichoke hearts through the red pepper flakes in a 4-quart saucepan. Squeeze the garlic cloves into the pot. Bring to a boil, then cook over low heat 30 minutes, covered. Stir twice.
Puree completely. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and return to the saucepan. Add the cream and cheese. Cook over medium/high heat, uncovered, 5 minutes. Season, if desired. Garnish, if desired. Cover and chill leftovers. Serves 3-4.
* Now, this jar of artichoke hearts had some salt and citric acid. These flavors intensified, and we felt we really didn’t need any extra salt or lemon flavoring. If you prefer more acid, add a teaspoon or so of lemon juice; be sure to taste as you go.
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