Happy New Year everyone! This year, you can look forward to a strong focus onseasonal cooking with fresh, local ingredients. I will bring you what’s in season at the farmers markets in the Northern Virginia and Washington DC region, and share with you how ingredients inspire me to eat better and make real food with real ingredients–all year round.
Let’s start with a visit to the Dupont farmers market in Washington DC!
It seemed as though many DC area folks had the same idea as me-get to the farmers market and start the year off right with amazing produce and goods. The Dupont Farmers Market was elbow to elbow by the time I arrived on Sunday, shortly after the 10am opening bell (the market starts an hour later in winter so sleep in!). With a few vendors taking the winter off, the remaining produce stalls had people lined up for things goods such as root vegetables, leafy greens and apples.
Heinz at Next Step Produce was at the market this week. He will be at Dupont every other Sunday through the winter and seemed genuinely excited to answer produce question, from how to store to how to prepare the bounty that was at his stall. A surfeit of sunchokes were nested in the middle of the stall. These large ginger-like knobs are chock full of good-for-you stuff. Just read here!
Over a pound of sunchokes, a leek, and greens from Hakurai turnips had me looking forward to getting home into my kitchen and making this soup.
(serves 6 with serving suggestions)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 leek, thoroughly cleaned and rough chopped
- 1 carrot, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3-4 pieces celery hearts with leaves, rough chopped
- 1 1/4- 1 1/2 pounds sunchokes, cut into 1 inch pieces*
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 32 oz. box (4 cups) good quality chicken broth**
- 1/2 cup half and half, or cream
- 2 Tablespoons Mascarpone cheese at room temperature
- Kosher salt and pepper
In a heavy bottom pan (I use a Lodge enameled cast iron), heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add leeks, carrots and celery, along with a pinch of salt and a couple grinds of pepper. Saute for 5 minutes. Stir frequently
Add chopped sunchokes. Add another pinch of salt and a couple grinds of pepper. Saute for 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
Increase heat to med/high. Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine and allow wine to cook off until most of it is evaporated, about 3-4 minutes. Add thyme, marjoram, bay leaf and chicken stock.
Bring to simmer. Cover pot and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the sunchokes are tender.
Add half and half or cream, and return to a slow simmer for 5 minutes, uncovered.
Remove bay leaf.
Transfer soup to a blender (in batches) and carefully blend for 1-2 minutes, until fully pureed.
Strain through a chinois or fine mesh strainer.
Add room temperature mascarpone and whisk to incorporate fully.
Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Serve soup surrounding seared scallop atop sauteed greens with rendered bacon or pancetta.
Place a piece of crostini, or toasted brioche bread in soup bowl, with a poached egg sitting on top. Pour soup around and break egg, allowing yolk to enrich the soup.
*Peel skin from sunchokes and immediately submerge whole pieces in water that has been acidulated with the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Remove from water and cut just prior to adding to the pan.
** I use Pacifc natural foods organic free range chicken broth.
Until the next At The Market, eat and buy local when you can.