Husband and I loved this soup, but my kids did not. I really thought it was great! I couldn’t find frozen artichokes, so I used canned. My grocery store also didn’t have creme fraiche, so I used sour cream. Note: this recipe is meant to be for little appetizers at a party, served in tiny glasses. I doubled the recipe for my family of four, and I did have a couple bowls leftover.
(Food Network magazine, Dec. 2015)
time needed: 45 min.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium leek (white and light green parts only), halved, thinly sliced and well rinsed
1 stalk celery, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I used vegetarian “chicken” broth)
1 9 -ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 bay leaf
Zest of 1/2 lemon (removed with a vegetable peeler)
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons heavy cream
3 ounces baby spinach
1 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
Chopped fresh chives, for topping (I omitted)
Melt the butter in a medium Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the leek and celery; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and garlic, then sprinkle in the flour. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are coated with flour, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the chicken broth, artichokes, bay leaf and lemon zest to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are very tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream and the spinach; cook until the spinach is wilted, about 4 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and lemon zest.
Working in small batches, transfer the soup to a blender and puree with the parsley and 1/4 cup creme fraiche until smooth. Return to the pot, season with salt and reheat.
Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons creme fraiche and 2 teaspoons heavy cream. Ladle the soup into small glasses; top with the thinned creme fraiche and chives.