Creamy Shrimp Artichoke Soup

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I have a recipe on this blog for Oyster Artichoke Soup. Because of a lack of oysters this year owing to many things to include the lingering effects of the BP Oil spill, I switched to shrimp. Oyster harvesting in the Gulf of Mexico has dropped 75% from 10 years ago. As oyster season opens this month, the oysters are too expensive and I don’t really trust them. Changing this recipe from oysters to shrimp also called for a revamp of the entire recipe to include making a shrimp stock, less leeks and less vinegar. Truthfully, I prefer this recipe better.

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One of the nice things about this blog is I can place my laptop on the counter and read the recipe as I cook.  A great convenience.

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Ingredients (Pictured above, click on pic to enlarge)

Vegetables
1 – 8 Oz. jar quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped in food processor
1 – 8 Oz. jar quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped into half-inch pieces – reserve for later
1 white onion, finely chopped in food processor
1 leek, cleaned and finely chopped in food processor (white part only)
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped in food processor
1 large potato, peeled and finely chopped in food processor
1 celery stalk peeled and finely chopped in food processor

Oil
1 TBSP olive oil
4 TBSP butter
White wine vinegar if needed

Meat, herbs, seasoning, liquids
2 cups shrimp stock
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup whipping cream
3 stalks of fresh oregano leaves
1 tsp. thyme
Sea Salt to taste
White pepper to taste
1 lb. whole shrimp – cleaned (reserve heads and tail shells)

Shrimp Stock
½ of the reserved shrimp heads and tail shells
1 small yellow onion – chopped
1 celery stalk – chopped
1 carrot – peeled
3 cups water
2 garlic cloves
1 TBSP whole peppercorns
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper

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In a large sauce pan add all the stock ingredients, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to the lowest setting and cook 40 minutes. If the shrimp heads get too hot they will boil over and create a bitter taste. The idea here is instead of adding water or chicken stock to the dish; make a shrimp/seafood stock to backup the shrimp. Strain the stock and reserve 2 cups for cooking. This stock has a great aroma.

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In a food processor add the 8 oz. artichoke, onions, celery, leek, and garlic and chop into a smooth thickness.

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Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. On a medium heat, add the processed vegetables and a little of the white wine. As the vegetables begin to bubble, add wine a little at a time and keep stirring the bottom. If the heat is too hot the vegetables will stick to the bottom of the sauce pan and burn.

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In the food processor add the potato and process. Add the potato to the pot and start adding the shrimp stock a half cup at a time while stirring. I use a hand mixer to smooth the vegetable a little more.

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Turn the heat to the lowest setting, cover the pot and simmer 30 minutes.

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After 30 minutes add the salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, cream, reserved artichoke hearts and shrimp. Test the mixture for taste. Depending on the marinated artichokes, the marinade will have some vinegar, which is an important dimension of the soup flavor. There should be a noticeable hint, but not like a vinaigrette. If after tasting there isn’t enough vinegar back to suit your taste, add a little white wine vinegar a TBSP at a time until the desired taste occurs. Go slow. If you add too much there is no correcting the flavor.

Cover the pot and cook another 30 minutes on low.

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I served this meal with freshly baked artisan bread.

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