Thursday, August 21, 2008

Name this Funny Thing!

I picked this up at the Community Market this weekend. What is it?

Sunchokes/Jerusalem Artichokes! Crazy Huh? They look like very knobby ginger. But what does this tuber taste like? Keep reading.

But before you start doing anything with them, please give them a good scrub. You don't need to peel them.

Tonight I'm making a bisque. Sunchoke Bisque!

Potatoes, Onions, Garlic and Sunchokes.

Make sure all your veg boil/simmer in a pot of broth. The bay leaf just happened to be floating dead center. I had nothing to do with that.

The whole thing gets blended in a blender or food processor until silky smooth.

Add a wee touch of cream for extra silkiness.

And serve for dinner! We both enjoyed this nutty, earthy soup. I had to make some changes from the original recipe, still very good.

I think it'd be best as a side soup (first course) to something else. Or if you're not having anything, if you can add some sliced chicken or have some crusty bread on the side, you'd be well off. Overall, a very good meal. I don't know much about sunchokes, but I'd love to serve this in the fall/winter months. Very hearty and warming.

Sunchoke Bisque (adapted from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison)

for 2 large servings or 4 smaller servings

2 TB Olive oil
2 cups diced potatoes
1/4 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 pound sunchokes (cleaned. no need to peel, just get all the dirt and sand off. cut any really dark spots off)
1/2 tsp ground celery seed
2 bay leaves
3 cups broth (veggie broth if you're veggie, chicken if not)
2-4 TB heavy cream (optional)

Clean and dice all your veggies. I peeled the potatoes. The sunchokes were broken into smaller knobs and the larger ones were cut in half.

Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil. When shimmering, add the next four ingredients (onions, potatoes, garlic, sunchokes). Saute for a few minutes, allow a little color to
develop on the veg and on the bottom of the pan.

After about 5 minutes add salt (about one full teaspoon) & ground black pepper, the celery seed and bay leaves. Pour in the broth. Stir and scrape up any extra bits that stuck to the bottom. Bring the pot to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

When the veggies are tender, remove from the heat. Now we need to puree the soup. A blender works better. Fill about half way with soft veggies and some broth. Give it a whiz until completely smooth. Work in batches. Cover the blender with a towel to help protect from any possible splashing. Especially if you have too much in the blender, sometimes the heat can cause the top to blow off when you turn it on. So, have a towel over the top and hold the top with your hand.

When all the soup is processed, return to the pot and bring to a very low simmer. Add the cream and stir to incorporate. Serve hot with a garnish of your choice. Chopped scallions, drizzle of oil, crushed hazelnuts, sprig of fresh herbs, croutons...enjoy.


Dancer in DC said...

The flavor here was really surprising - you got the sense that it was a potato soup, but there was an underlying flavor that was more nutty & earthy. Warm and pleasing. I'm glad we went out on a limb and tried something new!

ScottE. said...

Here's another great recipe from Houndstooth Gourmet. Enjoy.

Sunchoke Soup