Thursday, March 11, 2010

SUNCHOKE, LEEK AND TERRAGON SOUP

hands down..THE BEST SOUP I HAVE EVER MADE

sunchokes, if you can get your hands on some of these ugly little devils, do it. ask your produce guy if he has any and where they are hiding. you might have already passed them by thinking it was ginger. as you can see in the photo above they do resemble my best new friend the ginger knob. (side bar..i'm on a ginger kick !). i've read that there is a small window of opportunity for the elusive sunchoke and i think the window is open right now. i forgot about these little gems. i remember quite a few years ago i used to eat them just boiled...i found them interesting because someone told be they taste like artichoke, and they DO! they pretty much taste like artichoke hearts without having to whittle your way down to the best part...the whole thing is the best part. they aren't even related to artichokes. wierd...huh?...they are from the sunflower family. click here for more info on the sunchoke...Jerusalem artichoke.




so, about this soup...easy peezy. this could absolutely be the star at a dinner party. as a starter or even the main course, i think your guests would be impressed. i even thought it worthy of dragging out the Hermes dinnerware...need i say more?...ok, i will. i don't know why i thought this soup was so over the top. you might wonder if i get out much. while i'll admit i'm not a huge soup connoisseur, i do know good taste and texture when it passes my lips. maybe this is no big new flavor for all you foodies out there, but the combo of the sunchoke, leeks, roasted garlic and fresh tarragon, might i even say, "dee-vine"?...a definite winner in my books. the sunchoke does resemble artichoke, but i've never had artichoke soup either and who wants do deal with artichokes. all the thorny leaves and the hairy inside just to get to the heart? besides, i think the sunchoke definitely has a different consistency. i'm thinking it has a more starchy effect. i read somewhere it's a good substitute for potatoes (starchy) if you're a diabetic or watching your glycemic index. it's lower on the scale than potatoes and won't spike insulin levels like some starches do. don't quote me on this, please.

i found quite a few recipes for this soup or something similar to it. as i was cooking i kind of adapted a little something from each one. i think i had 3-4 recipes out on the table. the recipe i have for you below was adapted from C.L. at Wellsphere. hers seemed most like the soup i had in mind...and besides it's adapted from Thomas Keller. if you want to make a good soup, you can't go wrong with something out of Keller's kitchen....EDIT-after i have now just glanced at T.K.'s original sunchoke soup recipe, i see that his is, of course, a bit more complex. the one below is much more simple and quite a bit...alot...easier on the ol'waistline.

CREAMY SUNCHOKE SOUP

adapted from C.L. at Wellsphere who adapted it from Thomas Keller

Ingredients:
1 to 1 1/2 pound sunchokes
1 large leek, white part and an inch of the green portion, rinsed well
1/2 onion. chopped
1-3 cloves garlic...i like allot.
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil...enough to saute leeks, onion and garlic
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
pinch of sea salt
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
5-6 roasted garlic cloves
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 full Tbsp fresh chopped tarragon. extra for garnish
1/2 cup cream...optional

MY NOTES...and instructions...

important-***no need to peel chokes. just clean them good and scrub off any dark parts and nubby parts (the whole thing is a nub so don't scrub too hard ok?)

cut into approx 1" pieces and drop them into a bowl of water with a little lemon (they will turn brown like a potato if you don't).

saute the leeks onion and garlic until translucent in large pot or dutch oven.

drain the sunchokes out of the lemon water and add to pot and pour in chicken stock. 4 cups (maybe more) or enough to cover everything by about 2".

i had some roasted garlic cloves in the fridge so i threw those in. about 5-6...i think this is a must. the roasty flavor really added an extra layer.

add 1/2 tsp dry oregano and a little fresh ground pepper.

bring to a boil then turn to a simmer. my sunchokes took about 45 minutes to get fork tender. it really depends on how large you cut the pieces. just remember you'll need them soft enough to blend into a creamy soup. keep an eye on them while they are simmering. don't let them go too long or they will start to fall apart like a potato.

when fork tender turn off and get out your immersion blender. you can use a stand blender, but i suggest getting an immersion(stick) blender. much easier. the beauty of the stick blender is that you finish off the soup in the one pot.

no need to strain or get the chinoise, just blend until there are no chunks, lumps or bumps.


i like to season at this point(salt and pepper). you might need to add more stock if it reduced while simmering. it also depends on the consistency you want to end up with....are you adding cream or not...

as for the cream...you can blend some in before serving or give your guests the choice. i prefer mine without, but the rest of the family likes the swirl of cream.

i'm not a good judge of how many servings this should make because, again, it depends on how thick or thin you like your soup. i would say 4-6 full servings and maybe even 8 first course or side servings.
i hope you enjoy this as much as i did...i found myself licking the bowl...amongst family, of course.

2 comments:

arugulove said...

I've never tried a sunchoke because I'm never sure what to do with it when I see them. But now I know! This looks great!

Sophie @ yumventures said...

mmm this sounds amazing! I've never had a sunchoke, but you have convinced me to try them!

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