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  Cream of Artichoke Soup

3 Tbs butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbs flour
4 cups chicken stock
2 lbs artichoke bottoms, drained if using canned, thawed if using frozen
1 cup half-and-half, cream, or milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over moderate heat and saute the chopped shallot for 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Chop the artichoke bottoms coarsely and puree them in an electric blender or food processor, adding a little of the chicken stock if necessary. Add the artichoke puree to the soup and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot or chilled.

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings