Artichoke soup with balsamic reduction

This is a special soup. If you are using fresh artichokes you have to prepare them, not a quick task. And one of the ingredients is fancy pants truffle oil. This is a recipe for a special occasion. You can, of course, use a jar of artichokes and omit the truffle oil for a soup fit for any day of the week.

This recipe makes enough for 4 small portions

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

4 sticks of celery, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

10 mini artichokes, stem, choke and top of leaves removed

1 tablespoon truffle oil

2 litres vegetable stock

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 preserved lemon, flesh removed and skin finely chopped

Heat the oil in a large saucepan

Fry the celery for 10 minutes on a medium heat

Add the garlic. fry for a further 5 minutes

Add the artichokes and stock

Simmer for 20 minutes until the artichokes are soft

Blend with a hand blender until completely smooth

Add salt to taste

In a small pan heat the balsamic vinegar until it is bubbling (If you purchase very good balsamic vinegar it should be thick enough for you not to need to reduce it)

Allow the vinegar to reduce by one half

Pour the soup into bowls

Drizzle the balsamic reduction and truffle oil over the soup

Scatter the preserved lemon on top