Lemon Artichoke Asparagus Soup

For a time, we lived close to California's Monterey Bay.  After a long day of hiking, we would stop off at one of the roadside artichoke farms for fried artichokes.  There is nothing like the smell of the beach, the fog rolling in, and the taste of farm fresh artichokes.  

Since moving to the US's Pacific Northwest, spring means asparagus.  Towards the end of April or start of May, it'll be everywhere.  Washington has a major asparagus operation going down, and it's delicious.

So, over the last week, I thought a lot about artichokes and asparagus.  And that's where today's soup comes to life.  It's a marriage of lemon, artichoke and asparagus with copious amounts of parsley and a bit of jalapeño.  It's a creamy, delicious soup for spring.  Enjoy it with some oyster crackers or decadent sandwich.  

I used frozen artichoke hearts, because they are available year round and taste fresher.  While you could use canned artichoke hearts, it might be salty.  There are also artichokes in plastic packs, which are usually found in produce departments.  While this choice is fresher than canned, they usually have added oil.  They may taste better than the canned variety, but the frozen artichoke heart works best.

  Right before I pureed the hell out of it.

Right before I pureed the hell out of it.

Lemon Artichoke Asparagus Soup

1 large onion, chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

½ tsp dried thyme

2 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped

3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

¼ cup lemon juice

½-1 jalapeño (if sensitive to heat, omit it or remove and discard the seeds)

1 ½ cups asparagus, chopped

1 12 ounce bag of frozen artichoke hearts

2 cups broth (fake chicken or vegetable)

½ cup fresh parsley, packed

¼ cup nutritional yeast

salt, to taste

black pepper, to taste

1. In a large heavy pot or dutch oven, sauté onions in olive oil with a dash of salt over medium heat. After 3 minutes, add thyme, and sauté a few more minutes.

2. Add potatoes, garlic, lemon juice, black pepper and jalapeño.  Sauté for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add asparagus, artichokes, and broth.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Remove from heat.  Add parsley and nutritional yeast.  Puree the soup, either in a blender or with an immersion blender.  Use water to thin, if it gets too thick.  Taste, adjust seasonings, and serve.

Lemon Artichoke Asparagus Soup