I guess I still have artichokes on the brain. Paul and I are having a couple of our best friends over for dinner and I am trying to work artichokes into the menu. Chris and Carol are both great cooks, so we always need to raise the bar when we cook for them. Artichoke soup comes to mind. In the south bay coastal town of Pescadero is a classic iconic restaurant that is famous for its artichoke soup. “Duarte’s Tavern” opened in 1894 and today this “James Beard American Classic” award recognized restaurant is still family owned. Recipes for their famous soups are on the Internet, but what I am going to try to do tonight is emulate not imitate. For my homage to Duarte’s I am going to combine artichoke soup and cream of green chili soup into one. What follows here are my humble efforts.
Duarte’s uses fresh artichokes no doubt. There is no way to get the great taste they get with frozen or canned artichokes. Fortunately for me I have some great artichoke hearts from Monterey Farms. These amazing artichoke hearts deserve more that a mention. They are undeniably delicious and fresh tasting. They come in four flavors: natural, buffalo, herbal, and grilled. You can buy them online or at many local specialty markets. I have used them many times in different dishes but this will be my first attempt at using them for soup.
I am going to start with the green chilli soup. I sautéed an onion and a clove of chopped garlic in a little butter until soft. Next, I used two 10-ounce cans of green chilies. Shame on me, I know I should have roasted and peeled some fresh chilies, but I didn’t. I rinsed the canned chilies well making sure I got all the seeds out, gave them a rough chop and added them to the onions. I added chicken stock just to cover and let them simmer for about 40 minutes. After that, I removed it from the heat and let it cool a bit, before blending it smooth with the hand blender and setting it aside. For the artichoke pot, I repeated the same procedure as I did with the green chilies: one onion and two cloves of garlic sautéed in butter until cooked, but not browned. I then rough chopped three 6-ounce packages of “Monterey Farms Natural Artihearts“, added it to the onion mixture and continued to sauté. After that I added chicken stock until it was just covered, and simmered it until the artichoke hearts were tender. I did not blend the artichokes because I wanted it to have a nice chunky texture. Once the artichokes were tender, I added the green chili purée to the artichokes, and tasted for seasoning. I added salt and pepper, but resisted adding anything else. I added cream to enrich it and adjusted the seasoning again. I wanted it thicker, so I mixed some cornstarch with a little stock and slowly added it to the soup until it was just right. In the end, we all loved the soup just as it was. However, you could elevate the soup to another level with the addition of meat, seafood or more complex seasoning.
If you are interested in trying the “Artihearts” from Monterey Farms, or want for information about them, you can check out their web site. Enjoy!
Dano and I are in love with these delicious artichoke hearts (ArtiHearts)… flavored in Herbal, BBQ, or Grilled! We would get our weekly supply at Jimbo’s… Naturally! when we lived in Encinitas. After moving to the Bay Area, I noticed that our local (Redwood City) Whole Foods did not carry them! This REALLY surprised me, as we live so much closer to the Monterey area now!
So, I called them up and Jane, the owner, was extremely nice and appreciative of me seeking out her product… she told me a few stores to try in our ‘new’ area… seems Palo Alto carries them… YAY!
Try to find them in your area… Check a Whole Foods or ask your Natural Grocer to carry them… You will not be disappointed! We use them in eggs, in salads (green salads or chicken salads), on our GF pizza, I even mix them with Chevre Cheese for a wonderful dip/spread!
SFONewb.wordpress.com | Posted by: elanbuendia | April 24, 2011
I just wanted to come on here and say that I’m insanely impressed with Monterey farms artichokes.
I am not affiliated with them in any way, I just went into the fresh market a couple of weeks ago looking for artichokes. They are such a pain to clean and grill and I found their packs in the produce section and figured I’d give them a try.
The flavor is really good for pre-cooked artichoke hearts. I made a risotto with duck confit, the artichoke hearts and roasted beets on top.
Well, they are a small company and I had forgotten the name, so I tracked down their contact information and gave them a call to find out how I could get their products online. Jane, the owner, said she was in the final stages of setting up payment on their website and it should be ready by the end of the month this month./www.montereyfarmsartichokes.com
I was hoping to get some for easter to go with some grilled leg of lamb, but no luck. She then said she would overnight some to me.
Not only was this unexpected, but her customer service was AMAZING!!!
I will be cooking leg of lamb on the grill stuffed with garlic, herbs, cheese and preserved lemon.
For sides, I am going to do artichoke hearts, roasted corn, grape tomatoes, and herbs tossed in a vinaigrette.
She has made my week!
Chowhound.chow.com/topics/780318 | Posted by jameshig | April 22, 2011
“OK, so let’s talk about these artichoke hearts!!! I discovered them one day in the produce section of Whole Foods. They come in a sealed plastic bag, and are made on the Monterey Peninsula in California, where artichokes thrive. I very quickly became seriously addicted to these “chokes” marinated only in lemon and garlic.
I just get the simple ones, but there are also herbed and grilled and a few more varieties. You might want to taste them all! Having grown up with a mother who frequently served artichokes on Friday nights, along with a dipping sauce of warm butter and garlic, I have been a fan my whole life. Actually, though my mom cared (and still does) about eating healthfully, we grew up in a Kosher home, so for the Friday night meat meal my mom had to use margarine, rather than butter. When I started making them, I translated that to olive oil, garlic and sea salt for dipping. Getting through the leaves to the choke, which I would methodically scrape out and discard, had me salivating for the tender, buttery heart in the center. This, to me, even at a young age, was like eating the most luscious chocolate cake; it melted in my mouth. ArtiHearts affect me the same way.
They are not the oily hearts you find in bottles in the supermarket. They taste so fresh and so rich in flavor and actually use the whole artichoke in the process. ArtiHearts make an excellent snack or addition to any dish. Warning: You will not be able to stop until you finish the bag! Great for children, too, as an after school snack. Jane MacDonald is the President of Monterey Farms. I called her to find out all about her ArtiHearts and thank her for creating them. She really has a commitment to take freshly grown artichoke hearts and keep them tasting that way.”
- HolisticGirl | Stamford, Connecticut