Artichoke Soup

IMG_4052Hog’s Breath Inn is a sheltered little restaurant in the heart of downtown Carmel, California. A large hog’s head post graces the narrow brick alley entrance on San Carlos Street. Cozy fireplaces built for two (or three) add to the relaxing ambience of the Carmel lifestyle. Owned by Clint Eastwood, the menu serves up comfort food including a Dirty Harry Burger. My favourite menu item, however, is the Famous Artichoke Soup and yes, I’m feeling lucky. The kitchen staff was more than willing to accommodate my recipe request. Below is The Chubby Spoon’s adaptation of Hog’s Breath Inn’s Famous Artichoke Soup. “You’ve gotta ask yourself a question: Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?”

Artichoke Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sherry*
  • 2 pounds drained artichoke hearts
  • 1⅓ cups chicken broth, more as desired
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup cream
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heated over medium-high heat, melt 6 tablespoons butter. Add the onions and saute until they begin to brown, stirring frequently. Stir in the garlic and peppers, and continue to cook until the garlic is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add the sherry and stir, scraping any brown bits from the base of the pot. Stir in the artichoke hearts, chicken broth and sugar. Add salt to taste.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer, loosely covered, for 30 minutes.
  4. While the soup is simmering, make a roux: In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Slowly drizzle in the flour and stir to form a roux. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the roux turns a light brown color, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. When the soup has simmered for 30 minutes, uncover and slowly whisk in the cream. Thicken as desired with roux, whisking in 1 tablespoon at a time. You might not use all the roux.
  6. Blend the soup using a stand or immersion blender, and strain if desired. Return the soup to the pot, adjust the thickness with additional roux (to thicken) or broth (to thin).
Notes
The one change I made is to the sherry. Having none on hand, I substituted Liquid Love, a late harvest Zinfandel from Tobin James Winery in Paso Robles, California. I also used a large jar of artichoke hearts in water, but canned or frozen artichoke hearts would also work well for this recipe, but I'd refrain from purchasing marinated artichoke hearts. To make a vegetarian version of this recipe, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

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I paired this velvety soup with a tough as nails bottle of Zaca Mesa, Z Cuvee. The Rhone blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah offers layers of killer flavours.

Movie Night suggestion: Action, crime, thriller, Dirty Harry. Released in 1971, this film, starring Clint Eastwood really holds up. When a mad man calling himself “the Scorpio Killer” menaces the city, badass San Francisco Police Inspector Harry Callahan is assigned to track down the crazed psychopath.