Along the Grapevine


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Potato, Leek and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

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Winter has arrived early here in SE Ontario, and with a vengeance. I may not be able to dig up any more Jerusalem artichokes this year, but at least I got one last harvest this past weekend. I dried most of them, mostly to be ground into flour, but mixed a few with the potatoes and leeks I dug up on the same day to make a wonderful soup. I could have called my soup Jerusalem Artichoke Vichyssoise, but  since I used an additional ingredient, something other than the potatoes and leeks, I did not want to offend any Vichyssoise traditionalists. Still, this soup has the same rich, velvety texture, but with a little sweetness provided by the artichokes.

First a short note about the leeks. I was delighted to have grown this year the biggest best leeks I have ever grown, and at the same time disappointed that I had not planted a lot more. With so few to use, I made an effort not to waste any. When cleaning and cutting the leeks, I resisted just chopping off the dark green part. I carefully trimmed the leaves, starting with the outer leaves where the leaf leaves off being crisp. Each layer in turn needs less trimmed off, and the centre leaves, which are very tender, are cut the longest. So they look like this:

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Then slice the lengthwise and clean between the layers carefully to remove any soil.

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Then, having discarded the very dry and woody bits, I reserved the dark green leaves from the trimming to make a delicious stock.

The exact quantities for this soup are not terribly important. Just a mixture of the three vegetables, some water, seasoning and cream and Bob’s your uncle. This is how I made it.

Potato, Leek and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

2 small or 1 large leek

4 medium potatoes

1 cup of jerusalem artichokes

broth or water to cover

1/2 to 1 cup almond (or regular) milk

salt and pepper to taste

Method

Peel, clean and roughly chop the vegetables. Place in a pot and cover with water or stock. Simmer gently until all the vegetables are well cooked. Blend in a blender or food processor and return to the pot. Add as much milk as you need to make it the right consistency, and salt and pepper to taste.

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Other posts on Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichoke and Fennel Soup

Jerusalem Artichoke Biscuits

Jerusalem Artichoke, Mushroom and Black Walnut Soup

Jerusalem Artichoke Gnocchi

Coconut Lime Jerusalem Artichoke Chips

Jerusalem Artichoke Ravioli


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Jerusalem Artichoke, Mushroom and Black Walnut Soup

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.

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Jerusalem artichokes

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.

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Cremini mushrooms

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Chopped mushrooms

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.

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A cracked open black walnut

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Pieces of black walnut extracted from shell

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.

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Jerusalem artichoke, mushroom and black walnut soup


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Jerusalem Artichoke Biscuits

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sumac berries

First of all, I made a jelly from sumac and crabapples. This was pretty simple. I used 1 cup of each ingredient: crabapples, sumac berries, sugar and water. I cooked the fruit together in the water, covered, till all were soft. After straining it through a cheesecloth-lined sieve, I added the sugar and cooked until it thickened enough. With all the pectin from the crabapples, this is not a problem. Rather, be careful not to overcook it. I find the best method is to take a small sample, put it in saucer and if it thickens as it cools it is ready.

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crabapple and sumac jelly

Then I needed something to taste this jelly with, so I came up with this tea biscuit recipe as the first in my experiments in baking with jerusalem artichoke flour. The artichoke flour is pretty concentrated, so you don’t need much. I did not add sugar so that I could use these with sweet jams and jellies, and also with savoury. It was equally good with the jelly and with pesto (I used dandelion pesto I made last spring) with some parmesan on top. It is a light biscuit, and not as dry as many of the gluten-free ones I have tried. It was enough of a success that I have made it a few times since.

Jerusalem Artichoke Tea biscuits

2 Tbsp jerusalem artichoke flour

1/3 cup tapioca starch

2/3 cup rice flour

1/2 tsp guar gum

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

3 Tbsp oil

2 Tbsp milk (or almond milk)

1 egg

Mix the egg and oil together and add to the dry ingredients. Mix just until blended. Spoon out the batter, flatten slightly, place in a baking dish and bake at 350 for 20 min. This recipe makes 6 biscuits. This recipe can be doubled.

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