1 cup plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup chopped carrot

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped mushrooms

½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken broth

3 (8 ½-ounce) cans of quartered artichoke hearts, juice reserved

1 bay leaf

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 cups whipping cream

½ teaspoon ground red pepper

½ teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled, or ¾ teaspoon minced fresh

½ teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled, or ¾ teaspoon minced fresh

½ teaspoon sage

Pinch of Hungarian sweet paprika

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add carrot, celery, onion and mushrooms and saute until vegetables are soft and onion is translucent, about 15 minutes. Set aside. Melt remaining butter in a large stockpot over low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, five minutes. Stir in vegetables. Add broth in a slow and steady stream, stirring constantly. Add artichoke hearts with juice, bay leaf, salt, pepper, ground red pepper, thyme, oregano, sage and paprika and stir through.

Increase heat to medium and simmer one hour, stirring occasionally. Beat cream in a small bowl just until frothy. Blend into soup. Heat through but do not boil. Adjust seasonings. Serve immediately.

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