Friday, 13 February 2009

Smoky Jerusalem Artichoke and Ginger Soup

February is proving to be as miserable as it generally succeeds in being. Not only has this recession become a scary reality, we are also going through the coldest snap of weather we have seen in years. It's dark, cold and miserable and I for one cannot wait to see March in a couple of week’s time.

To add to this, it is also a poor month for edible produce. Aside from early forced rhubarb and winter staples such as potatoes, onions, leeks and swedes, British fruit and vegetable choices are few and far between.

The one light at the end of this tunnel of depression is a brilliant vegetable, the Jerusalem artichoke. Much like last week's discussion on chard, it is a misunderstood and under-used vegetable. The name doesn't help as it has absolutely no relation the globe artichoke you will be more familiar with. It is actually the root or tuber of a particular sunflower and if you have never seen one, think of a ginger root with cylindrical rings on the surface of their gnarly skin.

The taste is quite nutty with a bit of sweetness from their natural sugars depending on how old they are. Roasted, steamed, boiled or mashed, they are such a lovely addition to the plate. My favourite thing to do with a Jerusalem artichoke is to turn it into a soup; they blend perfectly to make for the silkiest of textures. The one downside to them are their famous wind-inducing properties due to their complex carbohydrates or inulin. This of course may be an added to bonus to fans of flatulence...

Smoky Jerusalem Artichoke and Ginger Soup
Serves 2

500g Jerusalem Artichokes, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 thumb size of ginger, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 tsp smoked paprika
A pinch of cayenne pepper
750ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
Salt and pepper
Pumpkin seeds (optional) lightly toasted in a dry pan

1 - Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the Jerusalem artichokes, onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for around 5 minutes until beginning to soften.
2 - Add the tomato purée, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper and cook for 1 minute, stirring all of the time.
3 - Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes until the Jerusalem artichokes are soft.
4 - Using a hand blender or food processor, blend the soup until smooth. Stir in the yoghurt and taste for seasoning. Serve with optional toasted pumpkin seeds and a sprinkling of paprika.

9 comments:

Helen said...

I love jerusalem artichokes and I know what you mean, they should be more popular!That is a rather unfortunate side effect though. I've heard that a pinch of asafoetida can help to counteract it!

Sylvie said...

I agree, David, bring on March! The soup looks great, such a deep colour. I don't think I have ever tried Jerusalem artichokes. Gotta change that.

Rosie said...

I agree too, David bring on March! The soup looks comfort in a bowl just what is needed this month.

Any chance of canning some soup up David and sending it over? ;0)

Rosie x

Jan said...

I'm sorry to hear that the weather has been so miserable. Ours has been all over the place. One week ice storms and snow, the next sunny and 70F. Then severe thunder storms, high winds, and a tornado for some unlucky souls. :-(

I have heard of Jerusalem artichokes but have never had them, will have to pass this on to the veggie gardener in the family. Great looking soup, unfortunate side effects. :-)

Jeena said...

I bet the smoked paprika gave thi sa real kick, great recipe it looks delicious.

William Leigh said...

Great recipe mate, congrats on the Times!

James said...

Jerusalem artichokes are one of my favourite's too - used them at the weekend.... any excuse.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Heh heh. Those 'properties' can be pretty alarming if you're not forewarned!

Great stuff, David. Dennis Cotter also has a beautiful recipe for JA soup in his book, Wild Garlic.

Alex said...

Love the smoky twist!