Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jerusalem Artichokes & Roasted Garlic Soup

A fellow urban farmer kindly shares the bounty of his garden from time to time.  He is a big fan of Vicki's Veggies Farm's heirloom tomatoes and plants plenty of these Prince Edward County seedlings each June.  But before he became 'Leamington North', his garden plot had been home to Jerusalem Artichokes, also known as sunchokes.

Well, the thing is, or so he tells me, once you plant Jerusalem Artichokes, you have them for life.  It is the garden gift that keeps on giving.  Each Fall he digs in to see what volume awaits him. Even when he thinks he has them all extracted, they inevitably return again next year.

Jerusalem Artichokes have an earthy flavour and I sometimes substitute them for a potato mash on the plate.  They also go well partnered with potatoes in a mash.

My urban farmer friend spoke well of this particular soup recipe from Vicki's Veggies Farm - Sunchoke & Roasted Garlic Soup.  With a fresh batch of chicken stock coming off the stove, the mister dug into our three pound gift and put together a soul-warming creation.

We didn't have the full complement of potatoes in the pantry so the scales tipped a bit more towards the Jerusalem Artichokes.

The soup really develops its depth if it has had a day or two to chill.  It reheats well and may require a final skim before serving.

The end result is really is a plain look when nestled into our white bowls.  So beige. To bring more colour to the palate and to bring on more flavour, I garnished the soup with small garlic croutons, ristede løg (roasted onions, crumbled) and chives. Vicki suggested small diced sunchokes and bacon!

With any luck, I'll be making this again next year.

inspired by Vicki Emlaw of Vicki's Veggies Farm in Prince Edward County
Serves 6 to 8.

1 1/2 pounds of Jerusalem Artichokes (sunchokes), cleaned, rough spots peeled, then roughly chopped
3/4 pound of red potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
2 heads of garlic, roasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups cooking onions, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
2 stems of thyme
6 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Optional garnishes:
garlic croutons
roasted onion crumble
small diced cooked Jerusalem Artichokes

Heat oven to 300ºF. Cut the root end off each garlic. Place in a tin foil pouch. Dribble with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Close the pouch, leaving open space around the garlic.  Roast for an hour until soft and golden.  Squeeze the cloves out of their skins and set aside.

In a dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat.  Sauté the onions until the soften and begin to brown.  Stir them frequently.  Add the Jerusalem Artichokes and continue to sauté over medium high heat until the Jerusalem Artichokes and onions have caramelized.  As you stir frequently, give the bottom of the pan a good scrape to avoid over-browning of the fond.

Add the bay leaves, thyme, stock and potatoes. Bring the soup to a boil and skim off any foam that may be forming.  Lower the heat and simmer until the Jerusalem Artichokes and potatoes are soft. Continue to skim any foam as it settles to the top.

Add the roasted garlic cloves and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves. Purée the soup and return to the pot.  If it is too thin, continue to simmer to reduce.  Season the soup with salt, pepper and red wine vinegar.

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