A few weeks ago I noticed that I was going through my produce delivery very quickly! I was receiving a “regular” sized box of fruits and veggies from Farm Fresh To You every other week. A regular box is supposed to feed 2-4 people for a week. Me, myself, and I was going through a regular box in about 10 days. I decided to step up to their “more” sized box that is supposed to last 4-6 people one week. I am thinking this will be a much better fix!
The variety of vegetables has increased in my delivery this week. While I usually get the staples – lettuce, carrots, broccoli, greens of some kind – this week I found that my “more” sized box contained the usual PLUS some shallots, fennel, romanesco, radishes, and artichokes. I was, however, disappointed to see that the amount of fruit I received didn’t increase greatly. I eat about 3-4 pieces of fruit a day, so I will have to keep supplementing with co-op and farmer’s market fruit!
Anyway…I looked at all of the veggies, and the bag of artichokes I bought in Castroville this weekend, and knew that I needed to make something epic. I decided to put together a lot of the root vegetables (I will save the greens and cruciferous veggies for another day and post) and the artichokes into a soup. Only the small artichokes from Castroville made their way in, as I want to save the two globe artichokes to roast later in the week.
I had never trimmed a fresh artichoke before, and the process was intimidating. However, once I did the first one, it became very simple and quick. First, you want to pull off the outer leaves until you reach leaves that are completely yellow. This will probably remove more than half of the leaves. Next, trim the stalk to a 1/2 inch, and cut off the tops of the leaves. Using a paring knife or vegetable peeler, remove the tough outer skin from the remaining stalk. Halve the artichoke lengthwise and remove the fuzzy center. I used a grapefruit spoon to do this, but a paring knife would work just as well. Halve again, and you have quartered artichoke hearts!
These will oxidize quickly (think about the brown color that apples get when you leave them out), so you want to do this when you have some water with lemon juice to soak the trimmed artichokes in, or when are at the point in your soup when you can just drop them in as you trim them!
Artichoke and Vegetable Soup
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 shallots, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 fennel bulb, diced
2 carrots, diced
1/2 cup white wine
3 cups vegetable broth
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, juice included
1 lb. red potatoes, cubed to 1 inch
6 small artichokes, trimmed and quartered (or one 14.5 oz can)
1 can (14.5 oz.) butter beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a soup pot or dutch oven. Add the shallots and cook until translucent. Stir in the garlic just until fragrant. Add the fennel and carrots and stir, coating with the shallots and oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until starting to get tender. Pour in the wine and let cook off for a moment. Add the vegetable broth and tomatoes, bring to a simmer.
Stir in the potatoes, and when they’re ready, the artichoke hearts. Season with the remaining ingredients and add the butter beans. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, until potatoes and artichokes are tender and the broth is the consistency you want.
I served mine with sharp cheddar ciabatta!