Puree Of Sunchoke Soup

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Last Sunday at the Dupont Farmers Market, I picked up a carton of sunchokes, not to be confused with artichokes. The producer at Next Step Farm where I purchased them told me that sunchokes don’t truly need to be peeled and that they could just be scrubbed, seasoned and roasted in the oven. Sounded good.

But, with me being a soup geek, I decided to turn them into a creamy  soup since I had all of the other ingredients on hand; shallot, chicken stock, cream and herbs. The soup came together easily and I have found a new favorite. Sunchokes taste like the similarly named artichoke. They are slightly sweet, a bit tangy, and nutty.

Sunchokes, also called Jerusalem Artichokes (They’re not from Jerusalem, and they’re not artichokes. Discuss), are little tubers which resemble fresh ginger. These New World tubers have waxed and waned in popularity, and now seem to be making a comeback as a change to the traditional potato for starch. Diabetics often use sunchokes as a substitite for potatoes because the sunchoke contains inulin; which is not absorbed by the body. Inulin also feeds the helpful bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, therefore, aiding in digestion.

Sunchokes need to be stored in a cool dry place. I stored mine, as advised, in a plastic bag with a paper towel to absorb moisture. Once exposed to the air, sunchokes oxidize quickly and discolor. When preparing sunchokes for cooking, soak them in acidic water (squeeze a lemon) to avoid discoloration.

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Puree of Sunchoke Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. sunchokes
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper
  • white truffle oil (optional)

Directions

Prepare sunchokes by scrubbing and peeling off any “eye’s” are dark blemishes. Slice into 1 inch pieces.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add shallot and saute for 4-5 minutes until they begin to soften and become transluscent. Add sunchokes and stir. Add thyme,  a pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir frequently.

Add chicken stock and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to maintain a low simmer. Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes, until sunchokes are easily pierced with a fork.

Remove bay leaf. Puree mixture in batches using a blender, or in the pot using a stick blender. Blend until smooth. You can choose to strain the soup with a fine mesh/chinois at this point. I left my soup a bit rustic.

Return soup to pot and add cream. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Serve garnished with a drizzle of white truffle oil (optional).

18 Responses to “Puree Of Sunchoke Soup”

  1. I am so glad that you posted a picture. I’ve never seen a sunchoke before. It looks like ginger.

  2. Yes, it does. The skin is the same;very thin and neither here nor there with regards to the taste if you leave it on. In fact, I generally don’t peel ginger if I’m only going to grate it on a ginger grater anyway.
    I think sunchokes will be around locally through April. I hope to experiment with them more.

  3. Lovely photos. I tried to make this over christmas, but couldn’t find the sunchokes. Good to know you can get them now. Looks delicious!

  4. I read that they are in season through April. I’m going to be at the Dupont Market this Sunday, but I don’t think Next Step will be there this week. I hope to buy more from them before the sunchokes are out of season.
    Thanks for your comment on the photos!

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  6. I am from coastal Mississippi, and there is a wonderful restaurant that makes the BEST sunchoke soup. Thank you so much for posting your recipe so I can give it a try at home. They also add fresh lump crab meat as a topping on their soup along with some homemade crutons….can’t be beat! Thanks!

  7. thanks for this recipe, Ramona — I’ve been addicted to sunchoke soup. I followed your recipe quite faithfully, except I used milk instead of cream, and still turned out great since the sunchokes are so creamy in texture when pureed.

  8. I’m making some right now, from JA’s I harvested in my back yard (it’s a weed here in Brookland!). But mine is coming out very chunky and lumpy, not smooth and beautiful like your pic. I _did_ roast them first, does that mean I’ll never get that pretty texture? Or do I have to strain them? I pulsed them in the Cuisinart for a pretty long time, so I don’t think it’s that..unless you pureed them for something crazy, like 10 minutes?

  9. Hi Rebbie- blend them (mixer or hand blender) and then strain!

  10. I followed this recipe, and it came out pretty great. I served seared scallops in the soup, and it was a perfect compliment.

  11. Thanks Sean, I’m so glad you liked it. I just love sunchoke season (and scallops!).

  12. This is a lovely recipe, Romona. It’s so simple and the ingredients don’t overpower the wonderful, nutty taste of the sunchokes. The white truffle oil added a special, elegant touch.

  13. Thanks, Spring!

  14. [...] roasting them or serving raw in a salad, but I’ve had sunchoke soup on the mind since Ramona’s post in the spring. This simple soup lets their flavor shine. I added mushrooms which added to the [...]

  15. Making this right now! Smells amazing! Can’t wait to taste :)

  16. Sunchokes are also good as an Au Gratin, or boiled and served simply with butter and parsley. We also eat them raw in salads, or as a dipping veggie in Ranch Dressing. I use them interchangeably with potatoes in soups and stews–a little different texture and flavor, but always delicious.

  17. Can’t wait to make this soup. We love sunchokes and grow them in a container in our garden (they do spread quickly so I recommend a container).

    Another great recipe for sunchokes is to make “faux cream of spinach”. Peel the sunchokes and cut into small cubes. Boil in chicken stock or water with peeled garlic cloves until very tender. Puree- thin with water or broth as desired. Pour over cooked spinach and serve hot. It makes a great side dish for people who need to avoid diary or eat light but want the sensation of a creamy vegetable.

  18. Where could I buy sunchoke? Can anyone tell me? I’m from NY and I’ve never seen on the stands at the market place. is it possible to buy on-line? I read a lot about this plant and I’m really thrilled to try it. Thank you, John.

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