Artichokes are great. Quinoa is great. Naturally, an artichoke and quinoa soup combo seemed beyond great. Enticed by the potential earthy goodness, the stubborn and mysterious artichoke still left me feeling apprehensive. Working with the thistle did prove arduous but ultimately resulted in a pretty kickass soup. Props to Adam Reid and his book New Flavors for Soup for the recipe.
Notes From the Trenches: I made this soup in July1, but artichokes are at their peak between March and May. Even if artichokes are available off-season, you’ll be better off cooking up this soup when they’re at their best . Remember, do as I say, not as I do.
Fill a large bowl with water and add the juice of 1/2 lemon. Cut off the stem of each artichoke flush with the bottom. Snap off the outer leaves until you reach the tender inner leaves. Then cut off the top third of the artichoke. As you work, add the trimmed artichokes to the lemon water.2
In a large pot with a steamer basket, bring 2-3 inches of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Place the artichokes in the steamer. Cover and cook until the bottoms are tender when pierced with a knife, 35-40 minutes.
Drain upside down on paper towels until cool. Pull off the leaves from each artichoke and cut out the chokes.3 Finely chop the hearts.
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Next, add the chopped green garlic bottoms and cook until fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Now add the thyme, broth, and your chopped artichokes before raising the heat to high and bringing to a boil. Once a boil has been reached, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes to blend the flavors and facilitate the soup magic.
After simmering, puree half of the mixture in a blender and return to the pot.4 Add the quinoa and 1.5 tsp salt, and season with pepper. Allow some more soup magic to happen over medium-low heat until heated through, about 10 minutes.
Now you’re finally ready to ladel your creation into bowls, sprinkle with pepper and green garlic tops, and serve!