I'm a soup-a-holic the whole way through winter. I prefer to make my own, I like to know what's in my food these days, and that they aren't full of 'fillers.
This jerusalem artichoke soup is full of nostalgia for me, Mum used to prepare it for us whenever we saw jerusalem artichokes in the shops or supermarkets. They aren't really widely used, and are a little bit hard to get. They also involve a bit of preparation - the are knotty and gnarly, quite like ginger, but as they are a root vegetable they can get quite dirty. I washed them and focused on removing the darkest/dirtiest areas by peeling them.
I've just done a quick wikipedia search on them - truly enlightening! They are from the Eastern part of the United States and were first eaten by the American Indians. They are also sometimes called sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple or topinambour and are part of the Sunflower family. There is no connection to either Jerusalem or the artichoke family, and it is not fully known why the name Jerusalem has been given to this tuber.
Jerusalem artichokes have a beautiful nutty flavour, something that is so much more intense and sweet than a traditional or sweet potato. In fact, I'm sure this soup would be fairly bland if traditional potatoes were used. Bacon adds a lovely salty flavour to everything, but I'm sure it could be left out or replaced with extra parsley if you are after a vegetarian version. Keep your eye out for Jerusalem artichokes - they are a winter-only vegetable in Australia and won't be around for much longer.
|Unwashed Jerusalem artichokes|
1kg Jerusalem artichoke, peeled and sliced
1 brown onion, chopped
2 rashers bacon, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
600ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Tbs cream (optional)
Melt the butter in a medium heat pan, then add the Jerusalem artichokes, onion, bacon and celery. Fry these off for about 8 minutes, making sure to keep them moving in the pan. Then stir in the milk, stock and parsley and simmer for half an hour. Using a stick blender, bring to a smooth consistency, and add the cream (if desired).
Serve with parsley and pepper.
|Post washing & peeling|
|Frying off the core ingredients|
|My soup friend - Cuisinart stick blender|