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.

jerusalem-artichokes-simply-recipes.jpg

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup Recipe

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

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

Showing 4 of 23 Comments

  • 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.

  • Katrina

    What an interesting soup! Love the sound of it!

  • 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!

  • 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

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