Remember last week when I was humming and hawing about the lack of fresh local produce and that spring and its bounty seemed too far away? Well, all that has changed with my most recent discovery of a little veg called the sunchoke (or sunroot or jerusalem artichokes or topinambour). I'm probably a little late to the party on this one, but that little root has become my new favorite thing to roast, blend into soups or thinly slice into salads.
They have been winking at me for most of the winter at the market, but they just looked so wobbly and alien -like that I kept passing them by. Well, fear no more, folks, that little wobbly root is your new best friend in times like these. Times when we are craving something light and fresh tasting as the weather warms up. Having no actual relation to the artichoke (but actually to the sunflower!), sunchokes actually taste, well, like artichokes. They aren't starchy and heavy like other root vegetables, so they are a delight to add to your meals come spring time.
It has been the winter of soups in this kitchen, and paired with a couple humble potatoes this sunchoke soup is perfect for this in-between season - fresh and hearty. Sprinkle on some toasted sunflower seeds and add a few juicy sundried tomatoes and its spring sunshine in a bowl. Hope y'all are getting a little sun these days, where ever you are!
Sunny Sunchoke Soup
All the sunshine is one happy bowl! Serve with pepper, maybe a little lemon zest, some crusty wholegrain bread and a fresh salad for light and seasonal meal. Vegan. Serves 4-6.
- 1kg (about 2 pounds) sunchokes, sunroots or jerusalem artichokes
- 4 medium golden potatoes
- Juice of one lemon
- 3 large shallots
- 4 cloves garlic
- 5 sprigs dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon herbes de provence
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 3 cups vegetable stock + 3 cups water (or all stock, or all water)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted
- 1/4 cup sundried or oven dried tomatoes, preferably in oil
What to do
- Peel and chop the sunchokes (sorry! this is real pain) and rinse under cold water, squeeze over the lemon juice and set aside while you prep the rest of the ingredients
- Peel and chop the potatoes, keep aside with the sunchokes
- Roughly slice/chop the shallots and garlic, and toss into a heavy bottomed pot with a little olive oil and place over medium heat
- Sautée until soft, then add the sunchokes, potatoes, thyme leaves and herbes de provence and cook everything together for about 10 minutes. No need to stir too much here, if the potatoes and sunchokes stick to the bottom a bit thats ok, a bit of brown gives more flavor to the soup!
- Add in the stock and water, and scrap off any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, then add the bay leaves and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until roots are soft and easily broken with a fork. Let cool.
- Blend soup with an immersion blender, if it feels too thick add a bit more water or stock. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Serve garnished with toasted sunflower seeds and sundried tomatoes. Enjoy!