About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Monday, August 06, 2007
Jerusalem Artichoke & Sweet Potato Soup
Back in the early nineties, Bruno Loubert wrote a book called Cuisine Courante in which he gave a recipe for a Jerusalem artichoke soup, which I recall making at the time and thinking it was quite lovely. Noodling around the internet the other day, this soup seemed to pop up everywhere, with a good version here. It also appeared on the telly, with Maggie Beer doing a version on The Cook and the Chef. What grabbed this lazy cook's attention was when Maggie said that it was completely unwarranted to actually peel them as the skin gives the soup a better flavour.

As you know, I'm all about flavour AND less work.

We usually buy a few kilos of this knobbly tuber in season and generally either boil or gratinee them, but having a few hours yesterday decided to turn some into soup. For those that don't know, Jerusalem artichokes do taste very like their namesake, artichokes, with perhaps the flavour being mellow rather than with the slight metallic tang of regular artichokes, but with either vegetable, they do tend to drown out other flavours. Which if you want to stretch them out, is rather a useful feature, as they can be expensive.

What was also lurking in the pantry, so long as you call under the kitchen table a pantry, was a mesh bag containing three sweet potatoes that I picked up on special, only for D to tell me that she didn't like them, only she didn't remember that she did, having had them in a previous soup along with parsnip and pumpkin, which she thought was lovely. There was also some beef stock leftover in the fridge which found its way to the pot along with some milk, but it wouldn't matter if you only wanted to use water as both vegetables are well flavoured.

Jerusalem Artichoke & Sweet Potato Soup

1kg sweet potatoes
1kg jerusalem artichokes
about 2l half & half stock and milk or just water
1 bouquet garni
thyme leaves stripped from several stalks
good pinch powdered cloves
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
salt & fresh ground pepper

Dry roast the sweet potatoes in the oven until tender, cool slightly and peel, then cut into chunks. Slice the jerusalem artichokes into rough chunks and place in a pot with the sweet potatoes, stock & milk or water, bouquet garni, thyme leaves and powdered cloves. Bring to the boil and simmer until the jerusalem artichokes are tender and falling apart, about forty minutes.

Remove the bouquet garni and in batches, blitz in a vitamizer until completely smooth, strain if desired. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper, gently reheat and serve.

Note: Clove works well with the jerusalem artichoke, just taste as you add the powdered cloves to get the right amount. The soup will also be quite thick and you may need to add some water to thin it out, just recheck the seasonings.
  posted at 9:14 am

At 8:29 am, Blogger Anh said...

Neil, this soup must be wonderful! I can already imagine the flavours. yumm!

At 7:48 pm, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Now that does sound like the level of effort I'm capable of right now. I very much am liking the artichoke and sweet potato flavors together! Lovely.

At 11:33 pm, Blogger kazari_lu said...

I love this sort of recipe (the look-what-I-found-in-the-pantry-and-turned-into-dinner kind).
I've never bought jerusalem artichoke before. I might when I've finished experimenting with endives.

At 1:12 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi anh, isn't that the thing with all good cooks, they seem to be able to taste the flavours before actually making something. It was very nice too and D thinned my version down considerably and it was still tasty.

Hi tanna, psst, you don't even need to bake the sweet potatoes, just peel 'em an pop them straight in.

Hi kazari_lu, endives sound quite tasty, I'm coming around for a peek at what you are doing with them.

At 5:00 am, Blogger robs said...

From Wikipedia...
The carbohydrates give the tubers a tendency to become very soft and mushy if boiled, so it is, as with most vegetables, best to steam them lightly to preserve their texture. The inulin is not well digested by some people, leading to the misconception that sunchokes are not edible or an assumption that they cause flatulence and gastric pain. Gerard's Herbal, printed in 1621, quotes the English planter John Goodyer on Jerusalem artichokes:

"which way soever they be dressed and eaten, they stir and cause a filthy loathsome stinking wind within the body, thereby causing the belly to be pained and tormented, and are a meat more fit for swine than men."

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