Monday, March 30, 2009

Trying something new...

Hello to all after some winter hibernation. Our Winter CSA started up recently, and I am thrilled to be back in the green(s). Oh, and in the tubers. Root veggies, that is. A few weeks ago, my share included some delicious spinach, a lettuce mix, some coveted cilantro, and a green known as mache (a dark green lettuce with a kind of sweet, nutty flavor). We’ve had some awesome salads at my house.

And, 3 lb of Jerusalem artichokes, a.k.a. sunchokes. I’ve never eaten this knobby little tuber before. I half-considered passing it up and just grabbing my greens and heading home. But, my curiosity won out and I decided I’d give them a try. I had to pull out my vegetable bible, The Victory Garden Cookbook. I decided I’d try the Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, since the author Marion Morash claims it is her husband Russ’ favorite choke recipe.

A golden opportunity presented itself when all three of my children were elsewhere for a Saturday evening. They are fine eaters, mind you, but Jerusalem artichoke soup is pushing it even for them. I spent no small amount of time peeling those sunchokes, so I was really hoping I could trust Russ on this one and the soup would be a hit with my husband and me.

And, oh my. It was wonderful. Really tasty. The beauty of belonging to a CSA is that often those gardeners spring something new on you – I have to admit I probably wouldn’t have picked up those sunchokes on my own! Now I’m a fan. And if you’re wondering why they call them Jerusalem artichokes, well, according to Marian, they never came from Jerusalem and they aren’t related to the globe artichoke, though they do taste a bit like them.

Coincidentally, I was reading an article called “The Best Antiaging Foods You’re Not Eating Enough of” in the April issue of More Magazine. Guess what was #10? Yep, sunchokes. Apparently, they’re packed with vitamins A and B, potassium, iron, calcium, and magnesium. A win:win. If you’re looking for the next anti-aging big thing (okay, I’m pushing it), here’s the recipe for the soup. Enjoy!

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup (The Victory Garden Cookbook, Marian Morash)

1 lb. Jerusalem artichokes
Lemon juice
1 medium onion
2 stalks celery
1 leek
2 tbsp butter
1 ½ tbsp flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup cream
salt and pepper
½ cup sour cream

Wash, peel, and coarsely dice chokes, dropping them into water acidulated with 2 tbsp lemon juice as you prepare them (this keeps the chokes from turning brown). Chop onion, celery, and leek and cook in butter over low to medium heat for 10 minutes, or until softened. Sprinkle on flour and cook, stirring, for 3 – 5 minutes. Add chokes (remove from lemon water right before adding) and broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Puree mixture in a blender or processor, and return to saucepan. Add cream and reheat. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste, and serve with a spoonful of sour cream on top.


valereee said...

Jayne, wow, that sounds INCREDIBLE. I still have at least a pound of 'chokes left from last week. I may have to try this soup!

chardlover said...

Val, it was worth peeling those little buggers! Really great flavor - and the lemon is a nice accent! There are recipes that don't require peeling - the skins slip off, apparently, like beets after you cook them. I might try one of those recipes next...

liberal foodie said...

Thank you for this! I may try the precook and peel method. We bought a pound from Turner Farm couple weeks ago and they've waited patiently to make their appearance.

chardlover said...

Hi! I've got more in my refrigerator waiting for me, too. Another Victory Garden recipe I'd like to try are Jerusalem artichoke pancakes - and this time, my kids will be in on the meal! let me know if you'd like that recipe..

Liz Hill said...

When I was growing up we'd pull these up, rinse off the dirt in the creek(they like to grow by water) and eat them raw. I can still remember how they taste that way.

Whenever I drive by a patch in bloom I have to resist the urge to stop and go harvesting.

valereee said...

Liz, resistance if futile. I say stop and eat. :D