A Jerusalem artichoke is a funny thing that isn’t actually at all what you’d expect it to be. Don’t let the name deceive you – though it’s similar in flavour to artichoke, this gnarled but tasty tuber is actually more closely related to the sunflower. It’s not from Jerusalem, either – this part of the name is widely considered to be due to the Italian word for sunflower – ‘Girasole‘. The plants can grow up to three metres tall and boast splendid yellow flowers – but for this warming soup recipe, it’s the small, below-ground tuber we’re interested in.
Jerusalem artichoke looks very similar to ginger or turmeric root – bulbous and gnarly – and it’s in season in January in the UK. It has a flavour that’s really unique – savoury and subtle, comparable only really to a combination of potato and artichoke, and when it’s cooked into a soup it brings a beautifully smooth, creamy texture. It’s also a great source of carbohydrate, fibre and protein. I love this recipe for Jerusalem artichoke soup as it lets an often-underrepresented seasonal ingredient sing and makes a hearty and comforting meal. You just can’t beat a hot bowl of soup with a crusty piece of toast on a cold afternoon!
You will need:
- 1 large brown onion, peeled and diced
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 900g Jerusalem artichokes, cleaned, peeled and sliced
- 900ml vegetable stock
- A glug of good olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- To serve (mix and match/optional): A handful of finely chopped chives, a spoonful of single cream, truffle oil, garlic croutons, crisped bacon
Let’s get started!
- Over medium heat, warm the olive oil in a large pan.
- Add the chopped onions and stir thoroughly, softening through for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the crushed garlic and stir through, cooking until golden and fragrant (about 5 minutes).
- Add the sliced Jerusalem artichoke, and stir so thoroughly mixed with the onion, garlic and oil.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid sticking, before adding the vegetable stock and bringing to the boil.
- When the pot is boiling, turn down the heat a little and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the Jerusalem artichoke is soft.
- Use a hand-held or jug blender to blitz the mixture thoroughly until silky smooth. You may like to taste test at this point and add more seasoning to your taste if needed.
- … and that’s it! This is such a quick and easy recipe. There are lots of ways you can serve this soup, too – I definitely recommend a crusty loaf for dunking, and a swirl of cream and sprinkle of chives gives it a really fresh and luxurious feel.
I’d love to know if you’ve tried this recipe, or Jerusalem artichoke in general – what do you think? Happy cooking!