Sunchokes are like the secret agents of the vegetable world. They go by many names (Jerusalem artichokes – though they are not from Jerusalem nor are they artichokes, sunroots, earth apples, and topinambour) and easily blend in with many vegetables thanks to their mild nature. These tubers are a close relative to the sunflower though they visually resemble the ginger root. Sunchokes are a New World food that was cultivated long before Columbus arrived. It makes sense that they were a staple food in the Native American diet, considering they are an excellent source of potassium, iron, and fiber. While they have a similar consistency to potatoes, sunchokes’ flavor is sweeter with a certain “je ne sais quoi.” They are delicious when roasted or made into chips, but for a weeknight meal, I like to enjoy them as a hearty soup with a fresh salad and some crusty bread.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large shallot, diced
1 pound sunchokes, peeled and cut into smaller pieces
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into smaller pieces
1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 sage leaves
water, as needed
salt, to taste
creme fraiche (optional to garnish)
- In a dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil. Lower the heat and add the carrot, celery, and shallot. Sweat until the onions are translucent.
- Stir in the fennel seeds, sage, and nutmeg. Allow flavors to meld for a minute or so.
- Add sunchokes, potatoes, and vegetable stock. Bring everything to a low simmer. Continue to cook until sunchokes can easily be pierced with a fork.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the soup (or use a regular blender and work in small batches). When it has been blended, add any water as needed to thin the soup to a desirable consistency. I like mine fairly thick, so I only added about 3/4 cup of water.
- Taste and add salt as needed.
- Spoon into serving bowls (this recipe should serve four for dinner) and garnish with creme fraiche or sour cream.