Creamy Artichoke Soup

With another six weeks of  winter to go, it’s time to get creative with what’s in the pantry. Warm up with this healthy artichoke soup full of vitamins, minerals and vegetables from the all important cold/flu fighting members of the allium family.  This soup is rich in fiber and has natural detoxing agents from the artichokes, which have a mild diuretic effect on the kidneys. It is hearty and delicious  but without the heaviness of cream.  Enjoy!

4 servings (double recipe if cooking for more than two people)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 leeks, white part only, cleaned and sliced

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 potato, peeled and chopped

1 can artichoke hearts packed in water, drained (good quality: trader joe’s, whole foods)

3 cups reduced sodium chicken chicken stock

additional  sea salt in necessary and fresh black pepper to taste

room temperature mascarpone cheese (a soft Italian cream cheese found in most grocery stores)

Heat oil in heavy, large, non-stick pot on medium heat.  Add leaks and garlic and cook for two minutes.  And potatoes and cook for an additional five minutes, stirring often. Add artichokes, stock, salt and pepper (if desired) and cook until vegetables are tender, approximately 20 minutes.  Puree with hand held blender then add 2 tablespoons of soft mascarpone cheese.  Blend again.  If desired top with fresh thyme or lavender.  Serve with a dollop of additional softened cheese and warm crusty bread.


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