Oyster Artichoke Soup

Oyster Artichoke Soup

Cozy up this winter with a bowl of our hearty, savory Oyster Artichoke Soup. Plenty of onions, celery, and garlic cooked in a light roux provide a savory base for this soup. Delicious artichoke hearts are then simmered in a stock made of chicken broth, with enough dairy to add depth and a dash of sherry for nutty sweetness. Finally, plump briny oysters are added at the end and cooked until just tender. This Oyster Artichoke Soup hits every note on the flavor palate. It makes a wonderful dinner served with our Commander’s Palace garlic bread. Or you can serve in in small cups as an appetizer. Your choice!

I’ll start by saying that my mother made Oyster soup every Christmas Eve and I am following in her footsteps. Mom made the classic creole version, sans artichokes and loaded down with cream, butter, and milk. I much prefer this lighter version.  It packs just as much — no, more! — flavor and is much easier on the stomach.

Oyster Artichoke Soup is a New Orleans Staple

Oyster Soup is a classic New Orleans dish served in fine dining restaurants since the turn of the century. The Antoine’s recipe calls for a blond or white roux, 50 oysters, 12 tablespoons of butter, and lots of heavy cream.  The only vegetables are the celery and onion sautéed as the flavor base. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fabulous dish, a bit heavy!

Our version of this Creole Louisiana staples takes a lighter approach, using mostly broth with just enough dairy to thicken the soup to your liking.

Adding Artichokes is Key

Finally, adding artichokes was absolutely key to this Oyster Artichoke Soup recipe. I’d like to take credit for this brilliant addition, the famous Chef Warren Leruth created this fresh spin on the classic Oyster Soup.

Chef Leruth opened the now defunct LeRuth’s Restaurant in 1965 in Gretna on the West Bank. It was an instant hit, a dining palace of true elegance, and credited with breathing new life into a stagnant French Creole cuisine.  A true food entrepreneur, Chef Leruth also created sauteed softshells with lump crab meat, and, as a restaurant consultant, came up with the recipe for the red beans at Popeye’s. Marion is wild about those red beans and with reason – they are crazy good! 

I’ve made a couple of tweaks to the recipe — added bell pepper and substituted half and half for the heavy cream. You’re going to love it.

Oyster Artichoke Soup

December 22, 2019
: 6
: 15 min
: 1 hr 10 min
: 1 hr 25 min
: Medium

By:

Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced (1 ½ cups)
  • ½ bell pepper, diced
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped, white and green parts
  • 3 ribs celery, diced (1 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 2 cans artichoke hearts, drained, quartered, tough outer leaves removed
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 pints oysters, drained (reserve oyster liquor)
  • 1/3 cup sherry
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup whole milk
Directions
  • Step 1 In a heavy bottom pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Step 2 Add both chopped onions, celery, garlic and ½ tsp salt. Sauté for 8-10 minutes until soft and fragrant.
  • Step 3 Sprinkle the mixture with the flour and stir to coat the vegetables well. Continue to sauté for a few minutes but do not let the flour brown.
  • Step 4 Add the artichokes and sauté for 5 minutes or so.
  • Step 5 Add the stock, cayenne, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme. Stir and taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Step 6 Over high heat, bring the soup to a heavy simmer. Cover with a lid allowing steam to escape through a small gap and simmer for 45 minutes over low heat.
  • Step 7 Stir off and on to prevent the soup from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Step 8 Add the oysters, oyster liquor, and sherry and simmer for 7-10 minutes.
  • Step 9 Stir in the half and half and milk over low-medium heat. Warm through but do not allow the soup to boil.
  • Step 10 Can serve immediately but best when refrigerated for at least 8 hours, allowing all the flavors to meld.
  • Step 11 Before serving, heat the soup slowly over low heat & serve warm.
  • Step 12 Tips:
  • Step 13 You can use frozen artichokes, in fact, some people prefer frozen. And I’ve even seen one person use an immersion blender (before adding the oysters) to puree everything into a smooth, silky texture. I prefer chewing my artichokes, though.
  • Step 14 If you like, you can cut up the oysters into smaller pieces, but you’ll be missing out on the beautiful sight of plump, tasty oysters floating in a delicious broth.
  • Step 15 You can also add chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese at the end for yet another layer of flavor.