discovering a simpiler life

discovering a simpiler life

Monday, 29 July 2013

Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes, what are they? Well my friends they are an amazingly tasty winter bulb that aren't very well know, so maybe its my own little secret veg.  It is actually a brother of the sunflower and not from Jerusalem nor is it related to an artichoke.  They are very high in iron and reputed to be great for diabetics as it doesn't change blood sugar levels but is as filling as a potato.  The plant produces a tall sunflower stem, well actually it grows up to 10 foot tall but if you have a little piece of turf that gets some sun and isn't used for anything else, give these treasures a go.  
The pretty daisy like flowers
They look a bit like ginger when harvested, but beware, they can overtake a vegie patch like a weed so an area used for nothing else is best.  We have them down the side of the house out of harms way.  They have amazingly good yields but unfortunately you can't eat a hell of a lot of them at once as they cause flatulence and tummy pain if you over indulge.  Which is a damn shame as I just love them.  But once bitten, twice shy.

When cooking they take some work peeling. If I was roasting them I usually just wash well and rub the skin with a kitchen scourer.  For this soup I was quite ruthless and did waste alot, but we had buckets of them to use up. I've done them roasted in garlic and butter but last night made a delicious soup, a true revelation.

Jerusalem Artichoke soup
a good big knob of butter and a slug of evoo
4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
1-2 bay leaves
approx 1kg of Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and roughly chopped
3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
2 litres of vegie or chicken stock
garnishes: light or full fat thickened cream, croutons, crispy bacon, tin of crab meat, chopped parsley * roast the bacon and croutons on the same tray in the oven.

In a large pot gently heat the butter and evoo, add garlic, onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves, s & p and sweat for 10-15 minutes until tender. 

Add parsley stalks, artichokes, potatoes and stock. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Skim off any scum that comes to the surface.  Blend with a stick blender.  Check seasoning.  You may need to take off and reserve some of the liquid and just see how thick it is. Better to add more liquid to thin it down than the other way around.  

Another thing to bare in mind is the artichokes once peeled go brown quite quickly. So either peel them straight away and use or if you are delayed even 5 minutes, put them into a bowl of water with half a lemon squeezed into it to help stop the oxidization process.  Serve the garnishes in little bowls on the table and let each person add as much or as little as needed.  This soup has the most unusually delicious earthy, nutty flavour, a real treat we hopefully didn't over indulge in!!

The much anticipated garnishes made this soup sing, sorry
the pics are a bit dark, and not the best, I get carried away wanting to
eat and almost forget to take the pic and too impatient to play
around with lighting!!

In a few days when I'm game to have another bowl of my freezer stash, I'm trying it with a dash of cream and chopped walnuts, I think it will work a treat.

Ciao Jan

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