Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

When I was a kid, my mother often used to add sliced raw jerusalem artichokes to our salads. I have no idea why. She doesn’t do it any more, and hasn’t for years. At the time I just thought they were weird looking and didn’t taste like much. Nothing at all like the real artichokes that we kids fought over at the dinner table. My kid’s mind decided that they didn’t grow very good artichokes in Jerusalem. Hah! Well, mystery solved. Turns out jerusalem artichokes are neither artichokes, nor are they from Jerusalem. They’re tubers, native of North America, and the plant is related to and resembles sunflowers. (In fact, these days they are often called “sunchokes”.) “Jerusalem” is thought to have evolved from the Italian name for the plant, “girasole” for sunflower. Why “artichoke”? If my mom had only cooked them, then that part of the mystery would have been solved for me. Cooked, they taste surprisingly like artichokes. Yum!

A traditional and wonderfully easy way to prepare these chokes is as a soup. If you like the taste of artichokes, I urge you to try your hand at making this soup with jerusalem artichokes. This is lick-the-bowl good.

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Word to the wise. Sunchokes are known for … well, how can I say it politely… causing flatulence, especially when raw. In fact, Hank calls them “fartichokes”. (He grows them in his garden, he should know.) He tells me that slow cooking them, like this soup preparation, greatly reduces the problem. Eh hem, although I’m sure I’m risking telling you Too Much Information, I had no particular gaseous issue with this soup. Thank goodness, because I can’t wait to make it again.

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Jerusalem Artichoke Soup Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 pounds jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 quart chicken stock (use vegetable stock for vegetarian option, and gluten-free stock if cooking gluten-free)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Method

1 Heat the butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat and cook the onions and celery until soft, about 5 minutes. Do not brown them. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Sprinkle with salt.

2 Add the jerusalem artichokes and the chicken stock to the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, covered, until the jerusalem artichokes begin to break down, 45 minutes to an hour.

3 Using an immersion blender or upright blender, purée the soup. If using an upright blender, fill the blender bowl up only to a third of capacity at a time, if the soup is hot, and hold down the lid while blending. Alternately, you can push the soup through the finest grate on a food mill, or push it through a sturdy sieve. Add salt to taste.

Sprinkle with freshly grated black pepper to serve.

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Links:

Sunchoke Soup with Nutmeg and Parmesan - from Sassy Radish
Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Fennel and Creme Fraiche - from La Tartine Gourmande
Carrot and Sunchoke Soup - from The Omnivore's Solution

20 Comments

  1. Emer

    I actually love Jerusalem artichokes. They even made it to our Christmas dinner table last month! I roasted them with lemon and thyme. Really great and they look so pretty and golden cooked like that.

  2. Katrina

    What an interesting soup! Love the sound of it!

  3. Daphne

    We used Jerusalem artichokes in salads too, largely because my dad grew them in the garden and we had to do something with them! They are prolific little devils, and with there sunflower tops make a nice screen in the garden, too.’High in protein I’ve been told, and we liked them cooked like potatoes with a bit of butter (‘never noticed the problem Hank describe.) We made soup too, similar to this recipe, which always made me think of a chowder. I’d forgotten all about it. Now, if I can find some ‘chokes, I’ll try your recipe. Thanks for the memories!

  4. Sara

    Do you have a good method for peeling them? I find them particularly difficult to prepare. Thanks!

    We just used a Rikon vegetable peeler. It has a carbon steel blade which holds its sharp edge much longer than stainless steel. I do agree that it is difficult to peel these chokes. ~Elise

  5. sylviane santi

    I’ll try this delicious soup. Here in Italy we call them ‘topinambur’ and they’re not known to many people. I love them cooked in the oven with oil and rosemary (as we also cook roasted potatoes). Love your recipes.

  6. Deanna

    I love sunchokes, but its so hard for me to find them I almost never make them.

  7. Anna @ the shady pine

    How delicious and somehow delicate this soup looks. I would love to serve this as the starter to a dinner party.

  8. artichokelover

    Yes, definitely tasty, and yes, the gaseous issue can be a big issue for some people. The fiber in Jerusalem artichokes is a soluble (FOS) fiber that is very beneficial for maintaining a healthy gut bacteria population, actually, but, untless one’s “inner garden” of microbes has adapted to consuming the FOS fiber in quantity (and microbe population numbers have risen, microbe species variety has increased, and there is an optimal ratio of various species etc.), some may find the gaseous after-effects of the fiber’s fermentation rather too powerful. So beware and proceed slowly (perhaps frequently, too, or regularly consume other vegetables with similar fiber properties).

  9. Julie

    My best friend grows these and I had them last summer for the first time. Yes they are “windy”.
    I stir fried them as she does and they are delicious! But the after moments were not desirable (hint hint)If the gas is handled in the slow cook process,then I want to try this recipe! I also have considered roasting them or grilling them along with root veggies, summer squash etc.Anyone done that?

  10. Shawna @ CheekyChic

    I’ve never used them before. How would you peel them….with a vegetable peeler, or perhaps like ginger root…with a spoon?

    We peeled them with a vegetable peeler. But I was thinking it might be doable with a spoon, as you do with ginger. Haven’t tried it that way yet though. ~Elise

  11. Mary

    Sounds delicious – perfect cold weather food
    mary x

  12. Brandy M

    We love sunchokes in our house, but they are hard to find. That is why I plan to grow them in the garden this year. I do a similar soup with leeks and water instead of stock so that the sunchoke flavor is the front runner rather than the stock. We also slice them, coat them in brown butter and roast them and they are like candy.

  13. Jessi

    I LOVE sunchokes. I’ve only had them once and I roasted them. I wish I knew where to get them…as the place I got them from seemed to be a one time wonder. I’d love to try out this recipe! Looks great!

  14. Carol

    I have these growing wild in my ‘vegetable patch’ and am so thankful for a new recipe.
    Thank you for all your wonderful recipes. They are a great inspiration for one that has been cooking for the last 37 years looking for new ideas. I have tried several of them and they were all great.

  15. Sebnem C.

    This is the Turkish way of of cooking them. Recipe is from Binnur’s Turkish Cookbook. I wish I could give you the link but I can not manage to do so.

    1 lb Jerusalem Artichokes, peeled, washed and cut in big chunks
    1 onion, chopped
    65 ml extra virgin olive oil (half for cooking, rest for after cooking)
    1 small carrot, peeled, cut in bite sizes
    2 tbsp rice, washed
    1/4 cup dill, chopped (half for cooking, rest for garnish)
    1/2 lemon juice
    Juice of 1/2 an orange
    1 1/2 cup hot water
    1 tsp sugar
    Salt

    Saute the onion with olive oil in a medium sized pot for a few minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients with 1 1/2 cup of hot water. Cook for about 20 minutes over medium heat with the lid covered. After about 15 minutes check the vegetables and water. If necessary, add a little bit more hot water.

    Place on a service plate. Sprinkle the remaining half of the dill and pour the rest of the olive oil all over the dish. Let it cool down first in the pot. Then, place it on a service plate.Serve the dish at room temperature or chilled

  16. Bethany

    I’m looking forward to trying this soup! We grow jerusalem artichokes in our garden, but my husband and I generally only eat them on nights when we’re planning on staying in. :P We’ve noticed that the particular problem is reduced when we eat them with potatoes, so we like to roast both in the oven together.

    To those who have a hard time finding them – once you do get a hold of some, plant one in your garden and you’ll quickly have more than you know what to do with!

  17. Janine

    Hi Elise, I was wondering if you could recommend a hand blender. I looked on your shopping site and could not find one. I love pureed soups especially now in the cold, and every time I decide to make them, I create a big mess in the kitchen pouring the batches into my regular blender. Your tips would be appreciated.

    I have a kitchenaid immersion blender which works well. I also finally dumped my cheapo Osterizer that was falling apart and invested in a Blendtec, which so far is working out great. ~Elise

  18. Kris

    Ooh la la! This is incredible! And easy to do. I made the vegan version: olive oil and vegetable sick. When done and blended, I added a generous splash of almond milk for creaminess and about a teaspoon or so of Mesquite liquid smoke and finished off in bowl with sprinkle of smoked Celtic salt. Very very good

  19. Becky

    I just made this soup and am eating now. It’s delicious! I dug the Jerusalem artichokes shortly before making the soup. I have two patches of them growing in the back yard.

  20. Epheus

    I am so glad I found this page! Thank you Elise and all comment-senders!

    I just picked up a kilo of Jerusalem artichokes in my local supermarket, reduced to a fraction of half price because it would seem that no-one in my town knows what to do with them!

    Having read all the comments, I’ll be trying a slow-roasting (and hopefully flatulence-minimising) method with garlic, rosemary and olive oil, and maybe a handful of parsley, roasting the tubers with a medley of baby potatoes, parsnips and carrots.

    I have also noted the comment from Bethany [thanks, Bethany] and will be saving a couple of tubers to plant for next year.

    Have favourited you for future reference!

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