Monday, December 5, 2011

J is for: Jerusalem Artichoke {Sunchoke} & Potato Soup

Since I'm traveling for work this week, I planned ahead, and made this soup a few weeks back. The base for this soup is something called a Jerusalem artichoke, or sunchoke. I received them in my weekly vegetable bag, and was excited to try them.

I also received some red potatoes that same week, and I decided that together, they would make a great soup, perfect for this time of year. (Yukons probably would've been better, but the red ones turned out great!)

Contrary to the name, they are not related to Jerusalem nor are they an artichoke. However, they do have a similar flavor to the artichoke, with a slightly sweet and nutty taste.

They are actually a species of sunflower, native to North America. The roots are an edible tuber and can vary in color from tan to white or even a pinkish or purple color. They are a great source of potassium.



These are Jerusalem artichokes. Or Sunchokes. Or whatever you want to call them. They have a similar texture to a potato, but they sort of look like a nubby gingerroot, so peeling them is not very fun. (Full disclosure: they contain a type of starch called inulin, which is not easily broken down by everyone, so in some people, they can cause mild stomach discomfort, but they didn't bother me too much).


Start with some speck or pancetta (or regular bacon works too). I sort of liked the smoky taste the speck added to this dish, but any of them would work great. Heat a little olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Cook speck until it renders and it becomes crisp. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.


Saute onion and garlic. Add thyme leaves and sunchokes, and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add potatoes, give everything a stir and cook for another couple of minutes. Cover with broth, enough to cover all of the vegetables, and then a little more. Cover and cook until potatoes and sunchokes are easily pierced with a knife, about 20-30 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. (Or you can use a blender or food processor working in batches). If it's too thick, add a little more broth.


If you are using the cream and lemon juice, stir these in now and season with salt and pepper. I liked the taste of it without the lemon juice, but it does help cut some of the smokiness of the speck if you find that too strong, so I urge you to play around with it to find the combo you like best. (You could always serve lemons at the table and let diners add their own if they like). P.S. This was the last thing I made before my Smart Stick died. R.I.P. Immersion Blender.


Ladle into bowls, and sprinkle with paprika, chives, and crumbled speck. Top with a swirl of finishing oil and serve!

Jerusalem Artichoke (Sunchoke) Soup

by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: soup/stew sunchoke Jerusalem Artichoke

Ingredients (6-8 servings)
  • 1 pound Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)
  • 1.5 pounds potatoes
  • 4 slices of speck, chopped (or pancetta or bacon)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • leaves from 1 sprig of thyme
  • 5-6 cups chicken or veggie broth (or water)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • chives (for garnish)
  • smoked paprika (for garnish)
  • olive oil or finishing oil (lemon olive oil would be yummy!)
Instructions

  1. Peel and cut the sunchokes and potatoes into equal-sized pieces and put in a bowl of ice water until you are ready to use them. Don't worry if you don't get all of the skin off the sunchokes.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Cook speck until it renders and it becomes crisp. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
  3. Add onions and garlic and saute until onions become translucent (but not brown), about 5 minutes. Add thyme leaves and sunchokes, and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add potatoes, give everything a stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Cover with broth, enough to cover all of the vegetables, and then a little more.
  4. Cover and cook until potatoes and sunchokes are easily pierced with a knife, about 20-30 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. (Or you can use a blender or food processor working in batches). If it's too thick, add a little more broth. Stir in the cream & lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Ladle into bowls, and sprinkle with paprika, chives, and crumbled speck. Top with a swirl of finishing oil and serve!
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4 comments:

  1. What a cool recipe!! I love your posts...they always inspire me to branch out and cook new things. My family members are enjoying it as well :).

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  2. When is your cookbook coming out???

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  3. Thanks so much Marianne! I'm glad you've been trying them and enjoying them. @Albert Louie...haha, right now it's just a hobby. Maybe one day!

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  4. Jerusalem Artichokes one the most underrated vegetables on earth. It's like tasting the heart of an artichoke, THE BEST PART, in every bite. I tasted a soup them a few years ago when living in Cali and the flavor totally blew my mind. Jaymee you soup looks fantastic and I love that your exposing more people to this wonderful vegetable.

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I would LOVE to hear what you think. I read every comment and get a little giddy when I see someone has left one on the blog. Thanks for stopping by!

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