Oyster Artichoke Soup

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(click on pics to enlarge)

The first time I had this dish was at a restaurant in Bay St. Louis, MS, which is exactly a one hour drive to New Orleans.  That restaurant was completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.  I struggled looking for a recipe to match it.  Poking around the Internet I learned this soup originated at Le Ruth’s Restaurant in New Orleans.  LeRuth’s closed in the 1990’s.  I still have a framed poster of their restaurant hanging in my kitchen (see below) given to me by a chef that worked there with Warren LeRuth. Warren is credited with creating this dish.

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At all the restaurants that serve this dish today there are two versions – with or without cream.  I chose with cream, but not much.  The next big decision is to make it with a Béchamel sauce (oil, flour, cream) or with a mashed potato.  I chose the potato.  Another deviation is I use marinated artichoke hearts instead of fresh.  I drain them but leave a little of the oil/vinegar for more flavor.  However, I will blend the other 8 oz. jar of artichokes with a white onion, leek, celery and garlic.  I will use the oyster juice in the container to add a little fish stock taste.  At the end I will toss-in the raw oysters and let set until they warm a little (15-20 minutes).  I will serve this with freshly baked bread.

~~~

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  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 – 8 Oz. quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed lightly, finely chopped in food processor
  • 1 – 8 Oz. quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed lightly, chopped into half-inch pieces
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped in food processor
  • 1 leek, cleaned and finely chopped in food processor (white part only)
  • 1 large garlic cloves, finely chopped in food processor
  • 1 large red potato, peeled and finely chopped in food processor
  • 1 celery stalk peeled and finely chopped in food processor
  • 3 stalks of fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½ cup  chicken stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Sea Salt and white pepper to taste
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 1 pint oysters with juice

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1. Heat olive oil in a 2.5 or 3 qt. saucepan
2. Blend artichoke, onions, celery, leek, the potato and garlic in food processor
3. Sauté artichoke, onions, celery, leek, the potato and garlic for 7-10 minutes on simmer
4. Add the wine, chicken stock and the artichokes chopped in half-inch pieces then stir
5. Cover the pot and simmer the soup for 30 minutes on a very low simmer
6. Turn off soup and let set for 20 minutes
7. Add whipping cream, oregano, bay leaf, sea salt and white pepper
8. Add raw oysters w/juice
9. Simmer on very low heat for 20 minutes and serve with bread

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