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Jerusalem Artichoke Gratin

Posted Mar 12 2012 6:00am

Saturday morning dawned bright and cheery. After so many weeks of mostly gray drizzle, it's a treat to see the sun!

After a good workout, a cozy bowl of quinoa with corn and peas,

a cup of coffee from the farmers' market,

and my favorite Eco-friendly t-shirt, I was ready to start the day!

The first task of the morning was to figure out just What to do with the entire bushel of Jerusalem Artichokes (also known as sunchokes) that arrived as our first week of this year's CSA boxes! While The Motherload of tiny, knobby root vegetables might not be the most practical of CSA boxes we've ever received, it was exciting nonetheless just to realize fresh vegetables had returned to our lives after a winter of frozen veggies, and I know more and more variety will creep into our veggie boxes as the weather warms.

Jerusalem Artichokes might not be the easiest vegetables to prepare, as they are oddly shaped and tricky to scrub clean, but they are worth persevering over because they have a delightful flavor - reminiscent of a cross between an artichoke, a potato, and a pear (which is an infinitely better combination than it sounds). They also have a very comforting potato-like texture without being quite as starchy as a potato, so they are a nice, healthful addition to comfort food recipes as we move through the last days of winter.

To make a simple little Jerusalem artichoke gratin...

~ Wash and dice a good quantity of Jerusalem artichokes - enough to nearly fill a 2 quart casserole.
~ Preheat the oven to 350, and spray your casserole dish with cooking spray.
~ Scatter a handful of the Jerusalem artichokes across the bottom of the casserole dish, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and dust a bit of grated sharp cheddar over the top.
~ Continue to layer handfuls of the chopped Jerusalem artichokes with salt, pepper, and a little cheddar cheese.
~ Once you have your casserole nearly filled, pour a cup of vegetable broth over top.
~ Cover the dish, bake for 1 hour, then uncover and bake for 20 minutes more. Serve warm!

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