At The Dupont Farmers Market Jan. 4th, 2009- A Surfeit Of Sunchokes For Soup


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.



Sunchoke 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.


Serving Suggestions:

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.

13 Responses to “At The Dupont Farmers Market Jan. 4th, 2009- A Surfeit Of Sunchokes For Soup”

  1. YUM! I made Sunchoke Bisque this summer with sunchokes from our local community market. Very satisfying, filling and simple to make. I used Deborah Madison’s recipe; she doesn’t have you peel the sunchokes. It was a lot of fun using them, I had no idea what they were!

    Here’s my post about the bisque.

  2. Oh mY!!!!!!!!!!!! That looks SO delish!!!!!!!!!!
    May have to find a clean kitchen to try that recipe!!!!!!!

  3. Looks really delicious!!! Haven’t had sunchokes before, wonder how they taste like.

  4. Pigpigscorner-Sunchokes are potatoe-ish in their peeling, texture and uncanny ability to oxidize quickly. The taste is subtly artichokes and nuts. Great for slicing into a salad ala water chistnuts, or simply sauteeing or roasting in the oven. Do give them a try!!
    Sharon, thank you! There are many great and really easy recipes to make soup with sunchokes. I hope you get to buy some and make a delicious dish. Let me know if you do!

  5. I would eat this in a heartbeat – looks outstanding!!

  6. Ramona,

    Where do you buy your scallops? I find that every time I buy scallops they taste bland.

  7. Hi Mary,
    The scallops are actually frozen from Coscto! They’re huge, defrost easily and are consistently pretty good.

  8. This looks wonderful! I just tried a sunchoke for the first time recently, and really loved the flavor. The addition of a scallop sounds like a wonderful idea. As for Mary’s question regarding where to find good scallops in this area– there is a wonderful fish store in Potomac, MD called “River Falls Seafood.” They had fresh day boat scallops this past week, and the quality is always excellent.

  9. Welcome back! I’m still new with cooking sunchokes, so thanks for the idea! I’m looking forward to seeing all the great things you do with local produce! Perhaps I will see you at the market sometime soon!

  10. Sunchokes – YAY! I discovered these wonderful little treats when I was living in Madison, WI. Though I am soooo sad to have left the #1 farmers market in the country i feel a little better knowing I can find sunchokes here!

    Try roasting them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper or even using them like you would a potato and mash them. Any way you make them they are so delicious and incredibly healthy. They have an incredibly high iron content.

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