In Navarra, the Basque Navarran region on the French Border of the Iberian Peninsula and Áragon, 3 hours northeast of Madrid, is the land of Cardoon root. A Member of the Thistle family and close cousin to the Artichoke, a huge celery looking stalk type vegetable, with a tough outerlayer of threads to peel, has a delectable interior.
This vegetable has a very short growing season in Navarra and Áragon, December through February and ranges to about 36 " in height. It can be frozen for future usage too.
For 4 persons:
1.500 kilos of cardoon
200g of pancetta ( or bacon of choice )
1 glass of chicken stock
extra virgin olive oil
Almonds - roasted for garnish
1 or 2 potatoes ( peeled and chopped )
1) clean the cardoon, and remove the thick threads from the exterior layer of the stalk
2) chop the cardoon stalks in 5 centimetre chunks
3) In a stock pot, put water and salt
4) Squeeze lemon into the water with salt in pot
5) boil water
6) put cardoon chunks in the water and simmer for 1/2 hour or until tender
7) Slice the pancetta and sauté until golden brown in E.V. olive oil
8) Add the potatoes to the cardoon and cook until the potatoes are tender
9) When the cardoon and potato mixture is tender, Mix to combine to make a creamed thick soup ( it is not necessary to add heavy cream or flour unless you wish to )
10) season with salt and black pepper and cayenne flakes
11) serve with pancetta garnish and almonds that have been roasted on cookie sheet in the oven for a few minutes.
*** serve with crusty bread and a good Granacha Spanish Wine