I finally got my hands on some sunchokes, a.k.a Jerusalem artichokes, the other week (from Local Source Market) and experimented with a few dishes. The best use of the ingredient, I found, was to make a creamy puree soup; this really showcased the sunchoke’s rich, unique flavour.
It is a strange ingredient, I’ll admit. It looks kind of like ginger, but dark brown. It’s knobby and awkward to peel, but underneath the rough brown skin there is a bright pale flesh with a consistency somewhere between raw potato and a water chestnut.
The process was pretty simple: first I sweated some onions, and garlic, in olive oil and a bit of butter. Once they were fragrant and had a bit of colour, I added my sliced sunchokes, and some small pieces of local golden beets that I had in the fridge. I seasoned them and let them sauté just for a moment before I covered everything in water and white wine to simmer for a while.
In retrospect I should have just roasted the beets in advance because they took quite a while longer to soften up from the simmering than the sunchokes did.
Somewhere along the way I added some freshly chopped basil, another splash of wine, more salt and pepper, and some lemon juice. Once everything was soft enough I used an immersion blender and blended everything in the pot until smooth.
I let the soup mellow a while in the fridge and flavours really came together. Before serving I reheated on the stove, mixed in a tiny bit of heavy cream, sprinkled on some toasted pine nuts and topped with a Parmesan crostini.
Sunchokes have a great flavour… they are rich, creamy, garlicky and substantial. Definitely pick some up while they’re in season; they are versatile and delicious!