Like anchovy, or even cauliflower, Jerusalem artichokes are a magic ingredient that seem to transcend their humble origins. Of course they’re not really artichokes and have nothing to do with Jerusalem; in fact they’re an import from North America, known there as the sunchoke.
We dug up a load of them – knobbly as you like – from my dad’s allotment over Xmas, so this dish cost us almost nothing. You could try the fruit ‘n’ veg stalls along Kentish Town Road for the best bargains locally. I kept the price down further by using chicken stock made after the Sunday roast and rosemary from the roof terrace. And be warned, they’re a nightmare to scrub and peel (generally a good rinse is enough), yet any effort will be repaid.
This is a soup greater than the sum of its parts, its frugal ingredients blossoming into a deeply savoury, velvety, almost bacony-rich luxuriousness.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
Jerusalem artichokes – 9 or 10 small ones
500 ml Home-made Chicken stock
2 cloves of Garlic
Soften the onions with butter on a low heat for several minutes. Add the chopped rosemary. Bring stock to the boil and cook artichokes on a simmer for 25 mins or less, until they can be pressed against the side of the pan. Drain, but keep the stock and puree adding it back in small quantities until smooth. Reheat slightly if necessary. Finish with a swirl of oil (some say rapeseed, others truffle) but good old olive is fine too. No need for cream. Tear apart a chewy loaf (ours came from the Hampstead Providore, but Earth is good too) and dunk it in without delay.
Words & pic: Stephen Emms
Next Week: Learn a secret from the Colonel Fawcett’s Kitchen.