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Palestine Soup (Cream of Artichoke)

450 g Jerusalem artichokes (large)
115 g Onions; chopped
1 Garlic clove; crushed
30 g Celery; chopped
120 oz Butter
2 sl Bacon; unsmoked, chopped
1500 ml Light chicken stock
2 tb Parsley; chopped
4 tb Double cream
Salt & pepper

Artichokes can be peeled raw like potatoes, but as they are so knobbly it is less wasteful to scrub and blanch them in boiling salted water. After about 5 minutes, or a little longer, the skins can be removed quite easily (but run the artichokes under cold water first). Keep the water they cooked in, unless it tastes very harsh (it does sometimes when the artichokes are becoming old). Cook onion, garlic and celery in half the butter until soft. Add the bacon and stir about for a few minutes, then the peeled artichokes and 4/5ths of the stock. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Liquidize or sieve, adding the remaining stock and some of the original cooking water if the soup needs diluting further. Put the remaining butter together with the parsley and cream into a warmed soup tureen. Reheat the soup to just under boiling point, correct the seasoning, and pour it into the tureen. Stir it well as you do this, to mix in the butter, cream and parsley. Serve with the cro-tons.

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