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Recipe
Artichoke Soup With Poached Oysters

Artichoke Soup With Poached Oysters

Artichoke and oyster soup is a New Orleans favorite. Pureeing the soup gives it a silky texture, and since the oysters are added at the very last minute, they are gently poached to perfection.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour plus 15 minutes
  • Yield: About 3 quarts, 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 50 small raw oysters (about 1 pint), picked over carefully for shell pieces, oyster liquor reserved
  • 2 cups clam juice, or as needed
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 leeks, white part only, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all- purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Four 14.5-ounce cans quartered artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chervil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chive blossoms, if available, or snipped chives, for garnish

Directions

  • In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone, parsley, sliced chives, tarragon, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix well and set aside in the refrigerator.

  • Strain the oysters over a fine- mesh sieve and reserve the oysters and strained liquor separately. Add enough of the clam juice to bring the oyster liquor up to 2 cups.

  • Heat the butter in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the shallots, leeks, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute. Stir in the wine and simmer until thickened and bubbly, about 30 seconds. Add the artichoke hearts, stock, cream, oyster liquor/clam juice mixture, salt, and cayenne and bring to a brisk simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then remove the soup from the heat and puree in batches in a blender. (Note: use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Strain the soup through a fine- mesh sieve, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids and return the soup to a clean pot. Warm the soup gently over low heat until it returns to a simmer.

  • Add the oysters to the soup and return the soup to a simmer, cooking until the edges of the oysters curl and they are just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in 1/4 cup of the mascarpone mixture. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve the soup immediately, each bowl garnished with a dollop of the remaining mascarpone mixture, chervil leaves, and chive blossoms.