Bring two large cocottes of salted water
to the boil. Add the artichokes to the boiling water and cook for about
40 minutes, or until the leaves pull out easily. Drain the artichokes
and leave them until cool enough to handle.
Pick off all the artichoke leaves: these
are not used in the soup but may be served cold with a dressing as a
first course for another meal. Using a spoon, carefully remove the hairy
'choke' and discard, then roughly chop the artichoke hearts.
Melt half the butter in a medium saucepan.
Add the onion and cook gently for about 2 minutes. Add the artichoke
hearts, cover and continue to cook gently for a further 5 minutes. Pour
in the stock and add a little seasoning, then bring to the boil. Cover
and simmer the soup for 10 minutes.
Puree the soup in a blender or a food
processor. Pour the soup back into the saucepan and reheat it. Stir in
the remaining butter and cream, Stir until the butter melts, then taste
and adjust the seasoning before serving.
A soup from Brittany which really should
be made with fresh globe artichokes but an excellent result can also be
achieved by using two 400g (14 oz) cans of artichokes hearts instead of
the fresh vegetables. Add the drained and chopped hearts to the onions,
then make up the liquor from the cans with the stock to give 1.1 liters
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