5 large artichokes
1 medium leek
1/2 cup chopped shallots
8 oz potatoes ( Yukon Gold preferably)
12 cups vegetable or chicken stock
6 garlic cloves
7 tbsp butter
2 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs parsley
1/2 bay leaf
1/4 tsp cracked black peppercorns
1/2 cup cream
Prepare the artichokes and vegetables
Cut the artichokes length-wise into quarters and remove the choke with a small paring knife. Discard the choke. Cut away outside leaves. Can be reserved and cooked later, but not required for this recipe. Cut away and discard outside, tough skin of the stems.
Cut the hearts into 1/4 inch slices. Slice and rinse leeks, chop garlic and dice the potatoes.
Cook the artichokes
In a large pot and half the butter and slowly melt. Add artichokes, leeks, garlic and shallots and cook on a medium heat until soft. Stir occasionally. Vegetables should not brown. Add the stock and potatoes and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, in a muslin cloth, tie up bay leaf, thyme, parsley and peppercorns, and add to the pot. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 1 hour. Remove the herbs and using a food processor, liquidiser or hand-held blender, puree the vegetables until smooth, Pass through a sieve.
Add the remaining butter and cream, season to taste and serve hot in bowls.