Jerusalem artichoke (official title aka. Sunchoke) is one of the few vegetables that is not seen in supermarkets all year round. It is in season through January so if you see some don’t miss your chance! Jerúsalem artichoke is a bit fiddly to peel but has a lovely slightly sweet, nutty taste and is worth the effort. This knobbly looking vegetable is most commonly used in soup but is also delicious peeled, finely sliced and sauted with some onions or garlic as an accompaniment. Jerusalem artichoke has low levels of a number of vitamins and minerals such as potassium, iron, vitamin A, C and E but it’s contribution to health comes mainly from it’s high levels of insoluble fibre – inulin. Inulin can help prevent constipation (hence the ‘Fartichoke‘ headline) and also creates the right environment for good bacteria to grow in the gut.
With temperatures dipping this week why not try this Delia Smith Carrot and Artichoke soup recipe which she claims is one of her favourites.
Carrot and Artichoke soup
700g Jerusalem artichokes (weight before peeling)
75 g butter
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1.5 litres hot vegetable stock made with Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon powder
salt and freshly milled black pepper
Peel the artichokes and cut into rough chunk. Place them in a bowl of cold salted water to prevent them from discolouring.
Scrape the carrots and slice them into largish chunks. Now, in a large saucepan, melt the butter and soften the onion and celery for 5 minutes, keeping the heat fairly low. Next, drain the artichokes and add them to the pan, along with the carrots. Add some salt and, keeping the heat very low, put a lid on and let the vegetables sweat for 10 minutes to release their juices.
Pour in the hot stock, stir well, put the lid back on and simmer, very gently, for a further 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Now liquidise the soup in two batches, then return it to the pan, taste to check the seasoning and reheat very gently until it just comes to simmering point.
Enjoy, in moderation!!!