- Holidays and Celebrations
Jerusalem Artichoke Soup Recipe for Halloween - Trick or Treat?
Jerusalem Artichokes Make a Delicious Autumn and Winter Soup
Every year at about this time of the year, (October - it's nearly Halloween!), I take myself down to the vegetable garden at our B&B in France, Les Trois Chenes, where I tend and crop my Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus also known as topinambour or sunchokes) to make soup. Perfect for a Halloween supper.
I carry my basket and fork to harvest the tubers or a pair of scissors to cut the flowers. The tubers make a wonderful soup and the flowers decorate our dining room in a truly spectacular fashion. What could be better?
Never heard of a Jerusalem artichoke? You're not alone, although this old fashioned vegetable is enjoying a bit of a renaissance. Now why is this root just perfect for trick or treat?
What is a Jerusalem Artichoke?
Trick or treat?
Well, what it's not is an artichoke, nor is from Jerusalem! Its Latin name is Helianthus tuberosus, and you'll also find it called the sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple or topinambour. You won't be surprised to find that it's a member of the sunflower family if you just glance down this article a bit.
The edible part of the plant is the root which look a bit like ginger roots; long and knobbly. They are a fiddle to wash and peel, (trick), but the good news is that peeling isn't obligatory. Try with and without and decide if you can get away without taking the trouble.
You dig up these tasty roots in autumn and winter and they are just gorgeous roasted in the oven, used as potatoes and mixed in with them or made into soups.
Have You Tried Jerusalem artichokes? - Have you taken the plunge?
Have you been bold enough to taste the sunchoke?
Jerusalem Artichoke Soup Ingredients
This is what you need:
- 700 g Jerusalem Artichoke
- 500 g Carrots
- 75 g butter
- 1 onion
- A handfull of lardons or bacon chopped into small pieces
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1 small green chilli chopped and de-seeded
- 100 g cheese (A hard cheese that you can grate like Emmental, Parmesan or Cheddar)
- 1.5 liters stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Yoghurt, cream or creme frache to taste
- Parsley or similar to garnish
How to Make Jerusalem Artichoke Soup
This method's a 'Treat'
- Peel and chop the onion, and saute with the bacon in the melted butter until soft and add the garlic.
- Peel and chop the carrots. You can peel the artichoke roots and this keeps the colour of the soup bright, but I clean mine and leave the skin on so that I don't waste the peelings. Having a brush of some sort to scrub the tubers is handy. See video below on how to peel and prepare the tubers
- Chop the artichokes and put into cold, salted water to stop them discolouring.
- Add the carrots, artichokes and chilli to the onion and fry gently until soft.
- Add the cheese and stir.
-Then add the stock, salt and pepper and bring to the boil
- Simmer gently until the vegetables are soft.
- Puree until smooth.
How to prepare jerusalem artichokes
Serve your Artichoke Soup With a Swirl!
Treat yourself to a swirl of cream
Add a swirl of yoghurt or cream and something leafy and colourful, (I've added lamb's lettuce). For Halloween why not make a ghostly face with your cream? Float thinly sliced oranges on top for eyes? Have lots of warm, crusty bread to dip and decorate your table with orange or black napkins. This is where the candles come in and other vegetables make pretty Halloween table decorations too.
Read the FREE on-line Les Trois Chenes Recipe Book here.
The Jerusalem Artichoke Plant
The Jerusalem artichoke is a giant of a plant which grows much taller than you. It's also quite a keen competitor so once you have it you'll always have it. Now some might think that is a trick but not me. I love it when plants that I like persist even though I do little or nothing to encourage them! Who wouldn't want a plant you can eat, with flowers to cut and can kill off its own weeds?
Being so tall they are inclined to flop, but you can plant them at the back of the border, if you want them as flowers, or tie them up to keep them standing. Of course, after flowering, you cut them all down for the winter.
Jerusalem Artichoke Flowers are Like Sunflowers
Great Autumn and Halloween flower arrangements treats
The flowers, as you can see, are glorious. Very like small, fine, sunflowers they bloom in France in late November and early October along with the dahlias and asters. I've put together a display here with Michaelmas daisies, golden rod and dill that I've allowed to go to seed.
Once cut, the artichoke flowers are not very long lived, but as the petals wilt you can pull them off and you're left with interesting button forms that will keep for quite a while.
They bring the sun right into the house and I just love them!
Excellent vegetable recipe books - discover more about unusual vegetables
Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book (At Table)
My All-time Best Vegetable Cookbook - She tells you everything you need to know!
Like so many things in life, hereby hangs a tale! As a struggling art student I used to eke out a living by doing a bit of cleaning for folk and I was given this Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book as a leaving present by my employers when I finally moved on. That was about 30 years ago now and I'm still using it.
Not a huge tome, not hard to read. Organised alphabetically, it describes the vegetables, gives a potted history, tells you how to choose and prepare the vegetables and provides a selection of classic recipes.
What a treat! The perfect gift
What a gift!
My Latest New Love Vegetable Cookbook - I'm just so fickle!
Nigel Slater excels in his ability to produce classy and nutritious dishes with a minimum of fuss and cost. On top of this he is a great story teller. Add gardening to this mix and what do you get? Tender!
The very best in nutrition is growing your own top notch veg (that way you know that it's good) and then cooking fabulously tasty dishes that are really good for you. A tall order? Well, why not start here - at least it's a great read!
The Sting in the Tail?
Well, Jerusalem Artichokes are not called 'fartichokes' for nothing!
I've sung the praises of the Jerusalem artichoke but there's got to be a catch and, well, it is one blast of a catch! Unfortunately, delicious though this veg is, it will fill you full of wind if you eat too much. I advise you very strongly to use artichokes sparingly, or to flavour potatoes and other vegetables. In my soup I've cut them with carrots, (thus giving the soup a warm colour), but you could experiment with other ingredients.
Image: Joseph Pujol (known as "Le_Petomane" - "the fart maniac") at the concert (ca. 1890). He was a French entertainer famous in Victorian times for being able to break wind at will Courtesy of Wikimedia
On the other hand, what better trick for Halloween?
Buy Jerusalem Artichoke Tubers from Amazon - Sunchokes are dead easy to grow
Poke 'em in and up they'll come. Simple as that. There are two main problems though. One is that once you have them they are there to stay. The other, in my case at least, is that the dog likes them. I have them planted in my flower garden and Molly (our intrepid hunting hound) will go and dig them up to eat.
Trick or Treat? - What's your verdict?
Would you give artichoke soup to:
© 2011 Barbara Walton