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Ethnic Sensations
January 2015


Cream of Artichoke Soup with Crispy Smoked Prosciutto and Fried Sage
By Heidi Allison

This creamy soup is done in the fashion of a French pottage — a country-style, thick and creamy vegetable soup, with a bit of texture and heft, that is served as comfort food on cold winter nights. In this recipe, the heavy cream has been switched out for vegan cashew cream, a nut-based “milk” that closely mirrors the taste and mouthful of full-fat milk or half-and-half, but without the artery-clogging saturated fat of these dairy products! Do not substitute almond or soy milk in this recipe—they do not have the requisite flavor or texture this dish requires.

Onions


In this recipe, the delicate, sweet flavor of the artichokes is complemented by using sweet, Roasted Garlic and Sweet Maui Onions but also adds a sweet, slightly nutty grace note to the finished dish. Topped with crispy, smoked proscuitto, aka speck, minced Chives, or fried Sage, this dish is sure to be a new fave of your culinary repertoire!

Artichoke


Another reason to try this soup is how healthy it is: artichokes are currently ranked as one of the most nutritious veggies you can put on a plate! In fact, artichokes have been ranked as number 4 and 7 on the list of “superfoods" by the USDA, linking this amazing vegetable to preventing heart disease (lowers LDL and raises HDL); lowering cholesterol by increasing the production of bile, supporting the digestive tract and relieving the symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), liver dysfunction and diabetes, to name a few. New research is looking into compounds found in the leaves that may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Cream of Artichoke Soup with Crispy Smoked Prosciutto and Fried Sage
Serves: 2 as an entree; 4 as a side


Ingredients:

Ingredients:  Cream of Artichoke Soup with Crispy Smoked Prosciutto and Fried Sage


12 ounce Frozen Artichoke Hearts, thawed and roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
1 package of Melissa’s Steamed Artichoke Hearts, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
2½ cups of Turkey or Chicken Stock
4 cloves of Roasted Garlic
1 medium, Sweet Maui Onions, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup Brown Raw Rice
2 cups Cashew Cream (see recipe below)
½ teaspoon Smoked Kosher Flake Salt
1/8 teaspoon White Pepper
1 Tablespoon Crumbled Fried Fresh Sage Leaves (about 8 leaves)
4 slices of Speck (Smoked Proscuitto)
1 Lemon, juiced (or equivalent amount of White Wine)

Cashew Cream
Makes: 2 cups


1 cup Raw, Unsalted Cashews
4 cups Water

Preparation:

Place cashews in water in a medium bowl and cover with a cloth. Let sit for 4 hours. Drain water and place cashews into a blender and add 2 cups of fresh filtered water. Blend on high for about 10 seconds or until a “milk” forms. Blend again for about 10 seconds and pour though a strainer to remove any nut granules. Pour into a glass container and store in the refrigerator.

Preparation:

Place 2 cups frozen artichokes into a blender with 1 1/2 cups of stock and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Place steamed artichokes into a blender with 1 cup of stock and blend until smooth; then set aside.

Place butter into a 4-quart, enameled Dutch oven over medium heat until butter is melted. Add onion and rice, and sauté until onion is soft and translucent and rice is toasted — about 12 minutes.


Place butter into a 4-quart, enameled Dutch oven over medium heat until butter is melted. Add onion and rice, and sauté until onion is soft and translucent and rice is toasted — about 12 minutes.

Place onion, butter, rice and artichoke/stock mixture into a blender, in batches, and purée until almost smooth—little pieces of rice should be present.

Return soup to Dutch oven and add 2 cups of cashew cream and an additional 1/2 cup stock. Place soup on low heat, cover and cook for about 40 minutes, or until rice pieces are soft.


Return soup to Dutch oven and add 2 cups of cashew cream and an additional 1/2 cup stock. Place soup on low heat, cover and cook for about 40 minutes, or until rice pieces are soft.

Ladle soup into a bowl and top with crispy, smoked prosciutto and a drizzle of sage oil. If vegan or vegetarian, skip the smoked prosciutto and crumble fried dates and a drizzle of the oil left in the pan from frying the fresh, sage leaves.

Crispy Smoked Prosciutto

Place 6 slices of smoked prosciutto on a foil-lined pan and place in the toaster oven and heat at 400 degrees for about 4 minutes, or until crispy.

Cream of Artichoke Soup with Crispy Smoked Prosciutto and Fried Sage