Rich and creamy artichoke bisque is a delightful way to start a springtime meal. Flavorful, fresh artichoke hearts are complemented by rich roasted garlic, Hungarian sweet paprika and a pinch of fresh scallion greens.
4 fresh artichokes
3 cups water
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon Hungarian Sweet Paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Immersion or tabletop blender
Prepare the artichokes:
Simmer clean, whole artichokes in salted boiling water for about 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick can be easily inserted in the base of the artichoke. Drain and cool under cold running water. When cool enough to handle, remove all the outer leaves down to the inner choke. Scrape the choke from the artichoke heart using a small spoon. Chop the artichoke coarsely.
To make the bisque:
In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the whole garlic cloves and sauté over medium-low heat until soft and golden but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onions and continue to sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the flour and mix well to form a roux. Cook the flour mixture for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, then slowly add the vegetable stock while stirring to mix well and prevent lumps from forming. Add the artichokes and cook for 3 minutes more, then carefully blend the mixture with an immersion or tabletop blender to a smooth consistency. Return to the stove and add the heavy cream and milk and blend well. Continue to heat over medium low heat for a few minutes. Sprinkle with paprika and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.