Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, look very similar to ginger root, but when you begin to peel them they offer an intensely concentrated artichoke aroma. Raw, they have the texture of a water chestnut, but taste sweeter and nuttier. They are a member of the tuber farm and are packed with iron and potassium. They aid in digestion and store carbs as inulin, not starch, making them an ideal substitute for potatoes. The farmer suggested roasting them or serving raw in a salad, but I’ve had sunchoke soup on the mind since Ramona’s post in the spring. This simple soup lets their flavor shine. I added mushrooms which added to the earthy flavor, but you can omit them.
1 leek, white part and an inch of the green portion, rinsed well
1/2 cup maitake mushroom
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
pinch of sea salt
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup cream
Instructions: Peel and thinly slice the sunchokes. (They are a little tricky to peel, so go carefully.) Slice the leek cross-wise into thin strips. Coarsely chop the mushrooms. Melt butter in stock pot over medium low heat. Add sunchokes and leeks and cook until they are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook 2 minutes more. Season with white pepper and salt, and stir in chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and puree in blender or with stick blender until smooth. (If using hand-held blender, you may wish to strain through a chinois strainer or cheesecloth to remove any extra lumps.) Stir in cream, warm over low heat for two minutes, then remove from heat and serve. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!
Farms of Origin: Organic sunchokes and leek, Next Step Produce and maitake from the Mushroom Lady, Dupont Circle Farmers Market. Butter from South Mountain Creamery.