This soup is California to me. It is first and foremost, a reminder of the road trips my mom and I would take down the Californian coast when I was a kid, and the soup she always told me has her favorite: Artichoke Provolone. Of course, almost all of artichokes sold commercially in the US are grown in California... it's climate is just sublimely artichoke-y.
There is a part of California that has always been subtly homey to me; My grandparents owned a small farm in the northern part of the state for most of my life, and I would visit over the summer to chase the chickens around. There were always plenty of hugs. My grandmother and I would play solitaire in the dated kitchen. Sometimes we would walk to the grocery store or go to the swimming pool. The days were bright and our kitchen was full of warmth.
When you take canned artichoke hearts and you blend them into a creamy soup the result is surprisingly bright. There are notes of acidic lemon, the nuttiness of the artichoke and the full, creamy body of the soup itself, thanks to a healthy heaping of cheese and potatoes. It is bright, and full of warmth.
My last trip to California started as a business trip but ended very personal with a visit to my grandmother in the hospital. As luck would have it, I was waiting for inspiration to write and share this recipe on that very day: a bowl of artichoke provolone soup was exactly what was needed.
Serves: 8 | Total Time:
- 33 ounce jar of artichoke hearts (I get this by the 2-pack at Costco)
- 1 pound white potatoes (3 medium sized)
- 4 cups broth
- 1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil
- 1 white onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- Salt & pepper
- 1 cup shredded provolone (3/4 for soup, 1/4 for garnish)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- Optional: More artichokes for garnish
- Optional: More cream for garnish
- Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter over medium heat on the stove. Dice onion, and add to the pot. Mince the garlic, and add that as well. Stir. Cook until onions are translucent.
- Meanwhile, peel and dice the potatoes. Add diced potatoes to the pot, then add artichokes, and a few cracks of salt & pepper. Pour broth into pot, and cover. Bring to gentle boil. Cook until potatoes are tender all the way through: about 10-15 minutes (test them with a fork occasionally).
- Working in batches, transfer soup to a high-speed blender and puree until smooth (I use a BlendTec , which is really good at getting all of the artichoke pureed. I’ve also tried with an immersion blender, and it works but the artichoke does not get blended as well).
- Return soup to pot. Stir in cheese and creamy, allowing the cheese to melt as you do. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, topped with additional cheese, a drizzle of cream, artichokes, and a crack of fresh pepper.