When we received sunchokes (or Jerusalem artichokes, as they are also known) in an all-local bin from Pure Sprouts, I wasn’t quite sure what to with them. I had never heard of them before, and I can’t say they looked like anything particularly special. They looked a bit like ginger root, with a slightly pink hue. To learn a little more about it, I pulled out my go-to veggie guide From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce. (If you ever plan on cooking a vegetable, buy this book. It tells you the background, how to grow, storage, cooking tips, flavor profile, and recipes for pretty much anything)
This is a tidbit of what I learned:
- A Jerusalem Artichoke has nothing to do with Jerusalem or artichokes.
- It is the root tuber of a wild sunflower and is native to North America.
- Harvest begins in late fall and lasts through light frost.
- The flavor is very adaptable and is mild, sweet and nutlike.
- They are great sources of iron and niacin and actually lower blood sugar, so they are recommended for diabetics.
- Sunchokes can be eaten raw or cooked, peeled or not.
- You can sauté, stir fry, steam, simmer, bake or boil them. (Mash them for a change from mashed potatoes!)
- Store them in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. For long term storage, bury them in sand in a cold but not freezing environment.
After reading up on the sunchoke, I decided to turn my stock of them into a soup, combined with carrots and rutabagas. To “hearty up” the soup for Kevin, I made some smoked turkey croquettes to serve in the soup. It was a great addition, but this soup is fantastic on its own, too!
P.S. This soup is very inexpensive to make!
Sunchoke, Carrot & Rutabaga Soup (with optional Smoked Turkey Croquettes)
- 1 onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
- drizzle olive oil
- 2 tsp thyme (my garden)
- 1 beer (someone had left this Amstel at our house—It worked well in this soup!)
- 2 medium rutabagas (Pure Sprouts)
- 7 sunchokes/Jerusalem artichokes (mine were each about 3 inches long by 1.5-2 inches thick) (Pure Sprouts)
- 7 small-medium carrots (Pure Sprouts)
- 2 c. stock or broth (we used homemade smoked turkey stock)
- Smoked Turkey Croquettes, optional (recipe follows)
- Slice onion and cook in a drizzle of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until starting to soften.
- Add thyme and cook until fragrant.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add 1/3 of the beer. Cook and stir until beer is almost gone. Continue adding beer a third at a time, cooking and stirring, until onions are caramelized.
- Peel and dice rutabagas, sunchokes and carrots, and add them to the pot.
- Add another drizzle of olive oil and sauté for a few minutes, until edges of root vegetables are just starting to turn golden.
- Add stock or broth and bring to a boil.
- Simmer 20-30 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and falling apart.
- Use an immersion blender, or work in batches in a regular blender, to purée the soup.
- If adding smoked turkey croquettes (recipe follows), place a few in center of bowl. Ladle soup around croquettes.
Smoked Turkey Croquettes
- 4 oz. smoked turkey or ham
- 1 small onion (Jett’s Produce)
- 1 large cooked, peeled sweet potato (Jett’s Produce)
- 1 T. dried thyme (my garden)
- 1.5 c. pretzels (Snyders)
- Preheat oven to 450.
- Mince onion in food processor.
- Add smoked turkey and pulse until finely ground.
- Add sweet potato and thyme and process until smooth.
- Form turkey and potato mixture into slightly flattened patties about 2 inches wide by about 1 inch thick.
- Crush pretzels into medium crumbs and spread on a plate.
- Press croquettes into pretzel crumbs.
- Place on greased cookie sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Serve with sunchoke soup!