French Province was the first trip my sweetheart and I took together and it immediately became a special place for us; besides utterly romantic and charming we soon discovered its great food. Even though I believe we have a sort of gift to find delicious food wherever we go (even in places with bad reputation); it would be really hard not to do it in Provence.
Some years later we came back to the area to discover some new villages and hidden corners and the magic was still there: great smelling bakeries in every corner, good wine and fresh in-season market food. While in Saint-Rémy de Provence we had our lunch stop at a beautiful restaurant with a lovely terrace, L’Olivade (no link available, so here is the address: 12 Rue du Château, 13210 Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France). Everything we had was delicious, but the Artichauts à la Barigoule I took as a starter was definitely a dish I was going to replicate at home. And indeed I did, it has become one of our favourite dishes that I cook now on a regular basis.
It is traditional dish from French Provence and there are several variations to it. Basically it consist of serving the sauté artichokes on an onion, bacon and herbs light sauce. Sometimes the sauce is prepared also with white wine and some other vegetables such as carrots. My own approach was to transform the cooking sauce in a broth to serve the artichokes in a soup. I hope you try it and enjoy it. Here’s the recipe:
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes sautéing + 10 minutes in the pressure cooker* or 30 minutes for regular cooking
- a dash of olive oil
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup diced ham (Spanish or prosciutto style). You can also use diced bacon
- 4 cups frozen artichokes hearts. If using fresh, cut the stalks, peel of the leaves, cut in quarters and boil in salty water with a dash of lemon juice until tender.
- 1 liter chicken stock
- 4 whole garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 bouquet garni (bay leaves, thyme and rosemary)
- Salt and black fresh ground black pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a cooking pot, add the onion and the ham and sauté, around 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Pour in the artichokes and mix, cook stirring for an extra 5 minutes.
Pour the stock , drop in the garlic cloves and the bouquet garni . Season with salt and pepper to taste, take into account the saltiness of the ham and the stock.
If using the pressure cooker * cover and cook for 10 minutes once full pressure was reached. For regular cooking, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
*Always follow your pressure cooker instructions and manage it with due care.
We usually have a full breakfast on Sundays, and this soup makes a great late light lunch. Bon appétit!