Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Fresh from the earth: Jerusalem artichoke soup

Ok, so we are all just about fed up with winter and the endless supply of root vegetables we’ve been living off for the past few months. I can’t wait until a trip to the farmer’s market reveals the first peak into the new season.

In the meantime, however, it is what it is, and rather than complain, I thought I’d truly embrace the earth’s winter feast by trying La Tartine Gourmande’s recent recipe for Jerusalem artichoke soup. La Tartine Gourmande is one of my very favorite blogs. Bea is a wonderful writer, photographer and enthusiastic cook (and by the way, not only does she publish her recipes in English but she also translates them into French as well). As far as I can tell, everything she touches becomes more beautiful and delicious, and I figured her soup recipe, which is decadently topped with, among other things, a drizzle of truffle oil, would be a safe bet.

Of course, no self-respecting food blogger would be content just to leave a recipe well enough alone. Although I’m sure her soup is divine exactly as written, I just couldn't resist fiddling to suit my own preferences. So I made some substitutions: thyme for rosemary, celeriac for fennel, and some additions: garlic in the soup, and sautéed mushrooms for the topping. The result: magnifique! So good, in fact, that R & I ate the entire portion between the two of us in one decadent lunch and then were driven to make the entire thing again a couple days later because we just couldn’t get enough.

Jerusalem artichokes (or sunchokes), if you are not familiar with them, are not at all artichokes, but rather the tuber of a flower in the aster family (related to the sunflower). They are readily available in farmer’s markets (or at Whole Foods) at his time of year. Why they are called artichokes (or sunchokes), I have no idea – but probably the same reason that the Patagonian toothfish sells better when called Chilean sea bass. If you haven’t had them, they are like a cross between a potato (the shape and the heartiness), a parsnip (the texture and less starchiness) and an artichoke (a hint of the artichoke’s sweetness and delicate flavor). The soup, with Jerusalem artichokes, celeriac, celery, potato, garlic, truffle oil, and mushrooms sings of the earth’s bounty, and reminds us of all the things that are good about the winter. For Bea’s unadulterated version, see here.

Jerusalem artichoke soup (adapted from La Tartine Gourmande)
(serves two for lunch, double for dinner or to have leftovers)

1 lb Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and diced
2 shallots, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
10 coriander seeds
2 sprigs thyme
1 large potato (3 oz), peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
½ large bulb celeriac, peeled and diced
3 cups good vegetable broth (or water)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp crème fraîche
Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the garnish:

~1 oz mixed mushrooms per bowl (about 5 ounces total), lightly brushed clean and sliced thickly
minced garlic to your taste (1-2 cloves)
Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
White truffle flavored olive oil
Fleur de sel

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pot (such as a dutch oven). Add the shallot and garlic and cook with the coriander seeds and thyme on medium heat for a few minutes, until shallots and garlic are golden.

Add the root vegetables and celery and cook on medium heat for about 8 minutes

Add the broth (or water) and bring to a boil. Season with a few generous pinches Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover and simmer for about 20 min, until the vegetables are fork-tender.

While broth and vegetables are simmering, heat one tablespoon olive oil in a small sauté pan and sauté ~1 teaspoon garlic for ~30 seconds. Add mushrooms and ~1 tablespoon chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste, and sauté for another minute or two.

Remove the dutch oven from the heat and use a stick blender to purée (or puree in your food processor).

Add the cream and adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve soup topped with a couple tablespoons of the mushroom mixture, and a drizzle of truffle oil, a couple pinches of chopped Italian parsley, and a pinch of fleur de sel.


Melanie said...

Your gorgeous pictures alone have me convinced to try this.

Marianna said...

Looks fab, and the white truffle oil, mmm mmm mmm! Must be a delight!

Anonymous said...

Mmmm...you know what I think of the pics already but that is some decadent soup...I will try your version as our summer slowly dwindles down...

La Tartine Gourmande said...


Thanks so much for your sweet note. I feel really touched by your words, and happy to have inspired you to cook this soup. I bet celeriac must be a great addition, and will try it like this next time, that is quite soon indeed. I always have Jerusalem Artichokes in stock now. Try them mashed too, you will see how wonderful they are as well then.

Andreea said...

this looks absolutely wonderful. i read bea's recipe as well and with yours now in print as well - there is no way i can still resist the temptation to try this soup :)

Anonymous said...

The soup looks absolutely delicious - and quite beautiful. Love the bowl, too. Really wonderful photos.

Anonymous said...

Haven't touched Jerusalem Artichokes this season. Inspired to do so by your interesting and lovely post.

Gigi said...

What a lovely winter soup! I am printing this recipe out as I type. I can't wait to try it.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I love Bea's blog, too, she's wonderful!
But I might say that I found you and your blog wonderful, too. I'm sort of a new reader, but your photos and recipes blow me away every time.

Sylvia said...

I am just discover your blog via your flickr photos.Your blog is so nice. Wonderful recipe as well amazing photos

Simones Kitchen said...

I absolutely love your blog and your photos. I found it through one of the flickr blogs that you're on (can't remember which one I spotted you first) and I am totally inspired when going through your blog. I still have loads to read and lots of recipes to try out but it's great knowing I such a great source of information to go to when in need of some great food ideas!!

Sabra said...

Thank so much! I'm so glad this post is inspiring some thoughts about soup! It's so fun to pick up recipes from fellow bloggers.
Amy: it's one of Larry's bowls
(my FIL is a potter)
Thank you very, very much Patricia and Junglefrog
Bea: glad you enjoyed :)
Gigi, Peter, Alison, Melanie, Andreea - let me know!

Anonymous said...

This soup looks very warm and comforting - I'd love some for breakfast right now - there is SO much snow!

I love the vessel. Does your FIL sell them?

Anonymous said...

What an inspiring photo and recipe. Just beautiful, will have to try while the whether is still cold outside. Yum!

lindsay said...

i love love love j.artichokes, and am looking forward to trying this. thanks for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

bea's pix were beautiful, and so are yours. i really like the celery root substitution. and the yellow color is so pretty. yum!

Claude-Olivier Marti said...

Very nice recipe with this component. We call that Topinambour in french ;-)

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

I just discovered your blog after the DMBLGIT announcement and I'm very, very impressed. Lovely photos, contrast, composition... the recipes look great. I also saw this when Bea posted it and I've been meaning to try it.

Sabra said...

Thanks, life in recipes, chuck, lindsay, claude-oliver for your comments.
Glad you found me Aran and thanks so much for that lovely compliment
Michelle: I really appreciate that : ). Celery root works very nicely in the soup - give it a try!

Sabra said...

Life in recipes - I forgot to mention - yes, my FIL does sell his pottery. If you (or anyone else) is interested, feel free to email me and I can put you together.

The Theology of Food said...

Yummy! I love it! Your making my mouth water!


God's Pittbull said...

Awesome! Will def. give this recipe a go...looks absolutely fabulous!

Post a Comment

Thank you for submitting a comment. I love, love reading your comments - they motivate and inspire me. Typically I try to come back and respond to your comment. Forgive me if occasionally I don't. Thanks for dropping by! (p.s. please don't leave marketing messages here)