sunchoke-pureeThe Wickedfood Earth farm has recently been quite successful in growing an abundant amount of  Jerusalem Artichokes. This vegetable is not truly an artichoke but a variety of sunflower with a lumpy, brown-skinned tuber that often resembles a ginger root. Contrary to what the name implies, this vegetable has nothing to do with Jerusalem but is derived instead from the Italian word for sunflower, girasole. The white flesh of this vegetable is nutty, sweet and crunchy and is a good source of iron. We recently made this soup as part of our 2nd pop-up restaurant held at Wickedfood cooking school in sunninghill, Johannesburg.
Another idea is to roast them (skin and all) in the oven with a simple drizzle of olive/hazelnut oil, sea salt, and pepper. Cook them all the way through as you would a baked potato. The combination of roasting and stewing them yields a complex flavour. We also add asafetida which helps add depth and complexity.
750g Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed clean and peeled
1 tin cannellini beans
2 tablespoons butter
1 small red onion or 4 shallots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2  vegetable stock cube
1L milk
Pinch of asafetida
Dukkah spice (optional)
Chives, cut
Heat the oven to 230ºC. Place 1/2 the Jerusalem artichokes on a baking sheet. Drizzle them with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive/hazelnut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the tray in the center of the oven and cook until they are completely yielding when pierced with the tip of a knife, 30 to 45 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the rest of the Jerusalem artichokes in thick slices. Heat a medium pot and add the butter. Add the onion and celery and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the asafetida and the Jerusalem artichokes slices and stir to mix the ingredients. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the milk and the 1/2 stock cube. Cook on a medium heat until the Jerusalem artichokes are completely tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the roasted ones from the oven, quarter them and add them directly to the soup mixture. Add the tin of cannellini beans.Purée the soup in small batches in the blender (or a hand blender) until smooth. For a more “rustic” texture, puree only 1/2 and leaving the other 1/2 “chunky.” For a super smooth soup, push through a sieve. Garnish with chives and dukkah spice. Serve with crusty sourdough or a seeded bread to bring out the naturally nutty flavour of the soup
Total Time: 1 hr 35 min
Prep: 30 min
Cook: 1 hr 5 minYield:
4 to 6 servings