It was with slight apprehension that I dipped my spoon in the sunchoke puree our kitchen had prepared. I never thought of using sunchokes in a soup, actually I hardly ever think of sunchoke, a tuber still unfamiliar to many. But, even in California, during the winter months cooks need to be inventive to avoid boredom stemming from an over abundance of potatoes and cabbage.
Sunchokes are the roots of the “Jerusalem artichoke” plant, which is neither related to the artichoke nor does it come from Jerusalem. The flowers are similar to sunflowers and the first Italian immigrants to the US named it “girasole” (Italian for sunflower). They had never seen it before because the Jerusalem artichoke is indigenous to the US and only Native Americans were well acquainted with it. Who knows, someone confused the pronunciation of girasole with Jerusalem and the name stuck. More recently, the tuber was named sunchoke or sunroot, possibly because its taste is actually reminiscent of artichokes.
But back to the soup. I was so pleasantly surprised I went back for more. Earthy and yes, vaguely “artichoke-y”, in a less aggressive way. So, directly from the kitchen, here is the very simple recipe.
RECIPE – Serves 4 to 6
1 Garlic Clove
1/2 Yellow onion, chopped
2 Celery ribs, chopped
1 Shallot, sliced
4 or 5 Sunchokes, scrubbed clean and diced
2 T Olive Oil
6 C Vegetable Broth
Salt and Pepper to taste
- In a soup pot heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic, onion and celery and saute until soft.
- Add shallot, sunchokes and vegetable broth. Let simmer until the sunchokes are tender.
- Cool slightly and puree with a hand blender. Add some broth or water to adjust consistency if necessary.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve