In the produce aisle last week I saw some curious, nubby-looking vegetables. Once I identified them as Jerusalem artichokes, I knew I had to buy them and figure out how to use them. Sunchokes look like fingerling potatoes with some knobby bumps, but taste like artichoke hearts. Actually, they are from the sunflower family and were originally found in the Americas. Native Americans used to call them the sun-roots. Why Jerusalem? We have no idea but there are a few theories you can look up if you are curious.
Let’s get to the recipe! My first reaction to vegan food is frowning, but I wanted to give it a try and see how this vegan soup turned out. I like potato soup, so I knew I would like it. Due to their knobby nature, the sunchokes didn’t need peeling so I washed, dried, and chopped them up. I peeled the potatoes and, of course, the garlic. I made the recipe quickly and simply by adding plain water instead of stock, since all I had in my pantry was chicken and beef. The new blender I received as a Christmas present made it happen in seconds to puree the soup.
We ended up with a soup that was mildly sweet with earthy, grassy tones. It tasted much like a classic potato soup with an artichoke heart or two for good measure. It tasted zesty and savory because it had garlic in it, and I Added good quality extra virgin olive oil, croutons I made, fresh thyme leaves, and sea salt to make it look impressive and to taste spectacular and hearty. You should definitely try this recipe when sunchokes are in season between October and April at your local grocer. Enjoy!
Soup with Jerusalem Artichokes/Sunchokes, Potatoes, and Garlic
Four people are served by this recipe.
The following ingredients are used:
- Half of a small lemon juiced or 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
- Water or vegetable broth 6 cups
- Peeled and cubed Yukon gold potatoes weighing 2 lbs
- One lb. local Jerusalem artichokes/sunchokes, peeled and cut into large chunks.
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- One large onion, diced
- The following can be substituted for a cup of water or vegetarian stock – 1 stalk of celery and 1 small inner stalk with leaves on it, diced
- Peeled garlic cloves from one small head
- Add salt to taste
- White pepper, 1/8 teaspoon
- For garnish, use thyme leaves
The directions are as follows:
1. Put the lemon juice and 6 cups of cold water in a big bowl and stir. Add the cubed potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes to the sautéed onions and celery after they are peeled and cubed.
2. While waiting, place the oil in a soup pot and heat on medium heat. Add the celery and onions and sauté for a few minutes while mixing continually, until soft, but make sure not to caramelize them.
3. In the soup pot, mix the potatoes with Jerusalem artichokes and lemony water. Bring the broth to a boil, and immediately turn down to a simmer, and add the garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and simmer until the vegetables are fork tender, approximately 45 minutes to one hour for a super soft texture. Stir occasionally throughout the cooking process.
4. Take it off the heat. Cool, and adjust for salt, then puree in an immersion blender. Add croutons, olive oil, and thyme leaves, then reheat over the stovetop.
Recipe Tips: Make up to 3 days in advance and refrigerate, covered. Reheat to serve. Leave leftovers to freeze up to 1 month.