This soup is the first one ever sold by Soup Nancys. It pairs a classic, creamy bisque texture with the delicious subtle earthiness of artichokes. And it won’t leave you penniless for your next date because potatoes make up a good deal of the volume. The best soup you can make starts with good stock (do it), but just use cheapo wine.
The soup stand opened inside the Pittsburgh Public Market on Easter weekend 2011 (so that we wouldn’t have to work on that first Sunday). We were right to plan for a day off right away. When doing anything worth doing, there’s a million considerations, and being humans, especially humans that like beer, not everything will get addressed. We cooked our tails off in the church-basement kitchen, worried and fretted, and lugged gallons of cold soup to the old produce terminal building. We plugged in soup-warming pots and waited for it to heat up. Lesson learned: Those pots are for keeping hot stuff hot. If you put cold stuff in, well, we didn’t have time to find out how long it would take. Mr. Nancy got tasked with running to the Sears scratch-and-dent on 52nd Street to buy the least-scratched and -dented microwave available. There will always be bumps in the road, but this soup is a proven winner. Eat it in good health with people you love, even if that person is just you.
In a four-quart pot or larger, melt butter. Sauté onions and garlic, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes and artichokes. Add stock and wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on medium until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes. Using a hand blender in the pot (or working in batches with a stand blender), purée the soup. Add the cheese and nutmeg, plus salt and pepper to taste. Purée to combine. Add cream and purée again. Be impressed with yourself and serve hot. Serves six.
Soup Nancy soups, now made by Raszewski’s business partner, Linzee Mihalcin, can be enjoyed at Umbrella Café, Downtown.