October 27th, 2009

ChokeSoup

Jerusalem Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Soup

When Abigail Lawson joined our chef’s team I was sceptical at first as she had just recently graduated from Leiths. I have old fashioned views on how a cook should earn their “stripes” in the cheffing world, I suppose it’s because I had a hard time myself. My view is that this job demands years of hard dedicated grafting, taking a lot of unfair punishment, working 16 hours a day, 6 days a week and being paid peanuts.

As time passed and me putting her through her passes I realised that Abi’s got the makings of a good chef and most importantly she’s smiley, willing, a hard worker, a fighter and  she can take a joke. I enjoy her company as we can natter about girly things, it’s good as it makes some difficult days a bit more tolerant and easier to forgive everything else that’s not all that pleasant.

After all the formalities were done with and we got used to each other it was time to find out about the real Abi. She told us with so much pride that she’s from a farm near Sotby, Lincolnshire. I envied her immediately as I’m was brought up in the city but always believed that I had the makings of a proper farm girl. She told us that her father grew peas and…  Jerusalem Artichokes, at this my ears pricked up and she had my full attention.  I could feel myself turning green with jealousy as I love Jerusalem artichokes. My attempt to plant them went horribly wrong as the dog dug them up the day after I planted them, so much for trying.

A few weeks later, after Abi’s parents visited, she handed over a plastic bag with Jerusalem artichokes, I was so greedy I only gave a few to one of my colleagues and the rest made it home with me.

After contemplating and debating with myself as I wanted to make a couple of dishes with the Sotby’s chokes I settled on this Jerusalem artichoke and roasted garlic soup. Jerusalem artichokes have a strong and unique earthy flavour and can easily handle the sweet but strong flavour of roasted garlic, in fact I think it’s a brilliant match.

I cut a bulb of garlic in half dipped the cut side in sugar and salt and roasted it in the oven until soft and caramelised. I added the soft roasted garlic pulp to the Jerusalem artichoke soup.It gave the soup an extra depth of flavour and with the addition of a splash of brandy it made a velvety creamy flavoursome soup without adding any cream.

The flavour of the roasted garlic is definitely not for the fainthearted and on a cold winters day it’s super delicious served piping hot with a rustic slice of brown bread with a thick lashing of slightly salted butter, delightful, my idea of heaven!

Thank you Mr and Mrs Lawson for bringing me a little bit of Sotby’s scrummy yummy Jerusalem Artichokes.

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Roasted Garlic

  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1tbs light brown sugar
  • 1tbs water
  • Maldon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cut the garlic bulb in half, place the salt and sugar in a small bowl and then dip the cut side of the garlic in the sugar salt mixture.

Place the remaining salt and sugar mix in two heaps on a lined baking tray and divide the water between the two heaps, place the garlic cut side down onto the tray, cover with foil and roast for 25 minutes, if the sugar caramel looks like burning add a drop of water and continue the cooking until the garlic is tender.

Let the roasted garlic cool.

Jerusalem Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Soup

  • 500g Jerusalem Artichokes, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 of roasted garlic bulb, soft pulp only
  • 1 banana shallot, sliced
  • 1tbs unsalted butter
  • 50ml Brandy, Madeira or white wine
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1L vegetable stock

Pop the soft cooled roasted garlic cloves out of the skins, discard the skins. Prepare the Jerusalem artichokes by peeling and slicing them, slice the peeled banana shallot.

Heat a large saucepan with the butter, once the butter starts to foam add the sliced banana shallot, garlic pulp and the sliced Jerusalem artichokes with a little bit of seasoning. Saute until golden brown, the darker the artichokes and onions the deeper and more intense the flavour will be. Season the soup a little at a time to prevent over seasoning.

Once the artichokes and onions are golden to dark brown deglaze the pan with the brandy, cook until the caramelised parts dissolve and the brandy is reduced to a syrup, coating the chokes.

Add the vegetable stock and bring the soup to a gentle simmer with a lid covering the pan. Gently simmer the soup for 25 - 30 minutes.

Blend the soup until very smooth, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. I used my thermomix and blended the soup for two minutes at speed 10, the powerful machine made my soup velvety and creamy, the finer the soup is  blended the better the flavour, any blender will be equally as good.

Serve piping hot garnished with thyme leaves, olive oil and crispy Jerusalem artichoke crisps.

Serves 4/6

Food Fanatics Tip

Even though this soup is silky and creamy it does not contain any cream and therefore is the perfect low fat recipe, however if you would like to tame the garlic slightly add a little bit of single cream or creme fraiche.


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9 Comments to “Jerusalem Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Soup”

  1. Judy says:

    I have just harvested one plant and there was enough to feed half the neighborhood. I didn’t know what I was doing and was waiting until the artichokes flowered – is this what they are supposed to do I never had any flowers but the plants were huge and started taking over the garden so that’s why I harvested them. The soup sounds great and I will definitely be trying this out. As for the wind factor that the artichokes tend to produce if you put a small piece of seaweed in while cooking this does take away the wind factor.

  2. SteveS says:

    Jenifer,

    Being a Perth boy (living in London) I know the type you mean. They are pretty much the same as what I can find here. More round also than long? What I have found is that you have to really get some colour on them as suggested in the recipe for a good strong taste to come through. Almost to the point where you think they are about to burn.

    Nice soup, great recipe.
    S

  3. The soup sounds divine. What has me really puzzled though is the photo of the artichokes; they are knob free – all those I have ever seen here in Oz are very knobbly, very knobbly indeed. Any chance that Abi could ask her father what variety of artichokes these are? (No harm in asking! LOL)
    Jen

  4. Madalene says:

    Dear Jenifer,
    You must think that I have completely forgotten about you!
    I did as Abi to ask her father about his chokes. He planted the chokes about 30 years ago as a green belt habitat on his farm for wild life to live happily whilst they farm with peas.
    They never harvested the chokes hence never the need to replant them and because he planted them so many years ago he cannot remember their variety name. I’m really sorry.
    He did however say that if you manage to find the chokes with a slightly purple skin they are supposedly the best eating variety, again we do not know the name.
    Happy Cooking,
    Madalene

  5. Lizzie says:

    It looks delicious, though Jerusalem Artichokes are known for causing a spot of the ol’ windy pops…

  6. John - Abis Dad says:

    More Sotby “chokes” are on the way ! We planted them over 20 years ago and they regrow annually full of vigour without any attention by ourselves and no fertiliser or sprays — so easy to grow. Definately an undervalued vegetable – a spoonful of grated choke in one a stew or casserole type dishes certainly would add a new dimension, a practice that Abi has perfected at home!
    Leeks and chokes in white sauce is nice at xmas too.

  7. Anne Reid says:

    This sounds delicious – I hadn’t thought of caramelising the lot before adding the stock.

    You should try growing artichokes again. I popped five in a raised bed in my front garden in the spring and have just dug up the first one. I think I have found a cure for world hunger! There were enough artichokes to fill a big bucket just from one tuber. Mind you – I may have added to global warming by feeding them to my dinner guests!

    Great blog, by the way!

  8. Today I was browsing the web for a recipe featuring Jerusalem artichokes. I’m glad you posted this yesterday. My soup is simmering right now…

  9. johanna says:

    this sounds delicious. we used them cut in matchsticks
    in our stir-fry dinners. the picky kids loved them too.
    they thought they were strange potatoes….we didnt correct
    that assumption. they are a gorgeous garden plant as well.

    my dogs dug up my first patch too. i put a piece of
    chicken wire weighted with rocks all over the new bed-
    just until they rooted well and tops began to grow.
    i think dogs just adore fresh dug dirt…no matter
    what’s planted

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