When you sit down at a dinner party table, part of the experience of the meal is shaped by the flow of food and drink as well as the exchange of conversation, or as I like to call it, “Table Talk.”
Adding something a little different to the scene, whether it is how the table is set, or offering your guests the opportunity to try a new food or cuisine from another country can really get the table talk going.
Can something like artichoke soup do the trick? Absolutely, especially when you serve it chilled, “shooter style” and sip it out of little wobbly glasses.
This past weekend we hosted our supper club at our home, and I served this soup following our salad course. Its bright, crisp flavor, with hints of lemon provided a cleansing break between courses. The wobbly glasses from Crate and Barrel added a little fun, as we watched the soup roll around a little without spilling out.
The soup may be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated, which is always a plus in the process of organizing a dinner party.
Chilled Artichoke Soup
3 large globe artichokes
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Lemon wedges for garnish
Fill a large stock pot with 2-inches of water. Place a steamer basket over the water and add the artichokes, tip side up to the basket. Cover, and bring the water to a boil. Cook 30-40 minutes, or until the artichoke leaves may be removed easily. (You may also use a vegetable steamer to cook the artichokes.)
Allow the artichokes to cool slightly, then remove the leaves from the artichokes. Use a spoon to scrape the meat from the artichokes. Reserve the meat, discarding the scraped leaves. Remove the outer thistles from the center of the artichoke and add the heart to the reserved artichoke meat.
Place the artichoke meat, lemon juice, and chicken broth in a large saucepan, and bring up to a simmer over medium low heat. Simmer 5 minutes. Puree mixture using an immersion blender, or blend in a mixer, and return to pan. Add cream, sour cream, cumin, salt, and pepper to soup, whisking to combine. Chill soup several hours (or 1 day ahead ) in refrigerator.
Makes 8 (4 ounce) servings