The George Blog – Jerusalem Artichoke Soup & Comments

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Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Now that Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes in the USA) are available loose in the greengrocers', I got tempted to make soup. They have a lovely sweet smokey flavour.

Because they are all knobbles and bumps, they are very tedious things to peel. I find the best way is to par-boil them gently for about 10 minutes. Then pop them into cold water to cool off. Then you can rub, scrape or scrub the skins off.

So here is what you need:

About 1kg (2.25 lbs) of Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes) and Potatoes mixed. I usually use about 2/3rd Artichokes (say 700g - 1.5 lbs) and the remainder potatoes.

2 -3 sticks celery – about 200g-250g (8 ozs), preferably with some leaf as well.
1 large onion
3-4 nice fat cloves of garlic
2 tbsp light olive oil
3 tbsp sweet white miso
1 litre (4 to 5 cups) vegetable stock
2 tsp mixed dried herbs - or chopped fresh herbs if you have them


Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed saucepan (or you can use an electric wok).

Chop the onion fairly small.

Chop the celery very small – slice the stalks lengthways and then chop into 3mm (1/8") pieces. This gets over any problems of stringiness. Chop the leaves.

Squeeze the garlic cloves through a garlic press – or chop very fine. Drop into the hot oil. Allow to sauté for a few moments.

Pop the onion and celery into the pan and sauté in the garlicky oil until the onion is soft and golden – perhaps 10 minutes.

Par-boil the artichokes as described above, skin them and chop into chunks.

Peel the potatoes and chop into chunks.

Add the artichokes and potatoes to the pan and sauté gently for a few minutes, stirring everything around.

Add the stock and the herbs. Bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about 30-35 minutes or until the potatoes and artichokes are soft (specially the artichoke).

Remove from the heat and blend completely smooth in a liquidizer (blender). You may need to add a more stock or water to make it blend OK. You could also use Rice Milk (NOT sweetened or vanilla flavour please!) – though the soup is lovely and 'creamy' without this.

Return to the pan. Mix the miso with a little of the soup and add to the pan. Heat gently to just under boiling point. It's best not to boil the miso because it destroys the enzymes.

Serve with crusty wholemeal bread or oatmeal biscuits. Totally delicious.

The carbohydrate in artichokes is inulin rather than the more normal starch. Some people find inulin harder to digest, hence the artichokes' reputation for sometimes causing intestinal gas. Mixing them with potatoes helps mitigate this problem. Vary the artichoke/potato ratio to suit!

According to Gerard's Herbal of 1621, quoting the English planter John Goodyer:

"which way soever they be dressed and eaten, they stir and cause a filthy loathsome stinking wind within the body, thereby causing the belly to be pained and tormented, and are a meat more fit for swine than men."

I have to say I haven't had this problem - but be warned!


Take back what I said - John Goodyer was right after all!
Date posted: Sunday, 01 Mar 2009 | posted by: debenriver

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