I only recently considered walnuts as an ingredient for soup, so when I looked on line for some recipes was surprised by how many are out there – bouillons, thick vegetable soups, Chinese dessert soups, even a few which featured my theme of the week – black walnuts. I did try one from a blog I follow which made good use of the strong flavour of black walnuts with squash. After that first success, I made my own with ingredients I happened to have on hand, namely Jerusalem artichokes, cremini (brown) mushrooms and walnuts. The combination of these local flavours worked really well, although I would not discourage anyone from coming up with other ingredients, maybe cauliflower, turnip, cabbage or whatever. There is no need for stock in this soup, as the flavours of the nuts and vegetables are strong enough on their own.
The artichokes were the last of the ones I dug up in the fall. I intended to cover my patch with mulch, and just rake it back over the winter months for some freshly dug ‘chokes. With all the snow we have had and the super low temperature, just as well I did not bother. All the more for spring.
Cremini are of the same family as the white button mushrooms and are often sold next to them, at a little higher price. They are simply white mushrooms which are allowed to mature, which means they are sturdier and have a stronger flavour than the ‘babies’. If allowed to grow even larger, you get the portobello. These ‘browns’ keep well covered in the fridge, and although any mushrooms will work in this recipe, I was glad to have these on hand.
Further to my last post on walnuts, I managed to photograph one walnut cut open. You will see the difference between it and other walnuts.
The nut is lighter in colour, with a much darker skin covering.
It is smaller, and because of the tough shell, it is difficult to remove all in one piece. But a little goes a long way, and chopping helps spread them around. By the time you extract the nut from the shell, the chopping is all done.
Jerusalem Artichoke, Mushroom and Black Walnut Soup
1 lb Jerusalem artichokes
2 Tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 lbs mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup walnuts
1 tsp salt
3 cups water
Boil the artichokes until soft and peel them. Blend them in a blender or food processor with half the water.
Fry the onions in the oil until translucent. Add the mushrooms and continue frying until they are cooked.
Add the walnuts, Jerusalem artichokes, salt and the rest of the water. Simmer to heat through for about five minutes.
Garnish however you like, if at all. I put some sumac powder on it for a bit of colour and flavour.