Artichoke and Quinoa Soup with Green Garlic

The flavor of green garlic is mellow like roasted garlic, yet fresh and verdant, rather like green onions.  It is a full-flavored springtime accent in this earthy soup that combines nutty, nutritious quinoa and sweet, mild fresh artichokes. 

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • ½ lemon
  • 12 large globe artichokes
  • Kosher salt
  • ¾ cup quinoa, rinsed well in a strainer
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 4 stalks green garlic, white and pale green bottoms finely chopped and tender green tops thinly sliced
  • 6 cups homemade or packaged low-sodium chicken broth
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Fill a very large bowl two-thirds full with water and squeeze the juice of the lemon half into the water.  Working with 1 artichoke at a time, use a chef’s knife to cut off the top 2 to 3 inches and trim the stem.  Break off and discard 2 to 3 rows of the outer leaves.  Using kitchen scissors, snip off any remaining thorny leaf tips, then drop the artichoke into the lemon water. 
  2. In a very large pot fitted with a steamer basket, bring 2 to 3 inches of water to boil over medium-high heat.  Carefully place the artichokes in the steamer basket, cover, and cook until the bottoms are tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 35 to 40 minutes (replenish the water if you sense that the pot might boil dry.)
  3. Using tongs, transfer the artichokes, upside down, to paper towels to drain.  When cool enough to handle, pull off the leaves from each one (reserve them for another use), and use a spoon to remove the fuzzy chokes from the hearts.  Finely chop 10 hearts and set aside.  Thinly slice the remaining 2 hearts and set aside separately.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan bring 1½ cups water to boil over medium-high heat.  Add ½ teaspoon salt and the quinoa, stir, and return to the boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is just tender, about 12 minutes.  Turn off the burner and leave the quinoa to rest, covered, until it has absorbed all the liquid, about 12 minutes longer.
  5. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the green garlic bottoms and cook until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the thyme, broth, and chopped artichoke hearts, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer to blend the flavors, about 10 minutes.
  6. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender and process to a smooth purée. Return the purée to the pot.  Add the cooked quinoa, 1½ teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste and place over medium-low heat.  Cook gently, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 10 minutes.
  7.  Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings.  Ladle it into warm bowls and garnish with the artichoke heart slices.  Drizzle each serving with olive oil, sprinkle with pepper and the green garlic tops, and serve right away. 
Kate Sears Photo