Jerusalem artichokes have nothing to do with either the capital of Israel or globe artichokes, so what gives? Extensive research indicates that we can blame the English. Jerusalem artichokes are root tubers from a type of sunflower. The Italian word for sunflower is girasole (“to turn towards the sun”), which eventually morphed into “Jerusalem” after landing on British shores. People who want none of that confusion prefer to call these sunchokes.
The “artichoke” part is easier to explain — fully cooked sunchokes taste similar to globe artichokes. When raw or lightly cooked, it will be juicy and crunchy, almost like jicama or water chestnuts.
This recipe also highlights morel mushrooms, another springtime Ingredient of Desire. The soup is finished with a hefty dose of cream for that velvety texture and topped with fragrant sauteed morels prior to serving.
Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Morel Mushrooms
makes about 4 servings
Jerusalem artichokes / sunchokes in a cute little box.
5 ounces fresh morel mushrooms, halved and cleaned
1 pound Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed or peeled
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fill a bowl with cold water and stir in the lemon juice. Cut the Jerusalem artichokes into thin slices and immediately drop into the bowl of lemon water to keep them from browning. Let stand for at least 5 minutes and drain.
- In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped shallots and saute for about 5 minutes while stirring frequently (try not to let the shallots brown). Add the sliced Jerusalem artichokes and saute for about 5 minutes more.
- Add the white wine and cook until the wine is evaporated. Pour in the chicken or vegetable stock, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, just until the Jerusalem artichokes are thoroughly softened.
- Puree the soup using a food mill, food processor, or blender. Strain using a medium-mesh strainer back into the saucepan and stir in the cream. You can cool the soup and refrigerate at this point to serve later.
- To serve, heat the Jerusalem artichoke soup over low heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
In a small skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and butter over medium heat. Saute the morel mushrooms for about 5 minutes and season lightly with salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg. Ladle the Jerusalem artichoke soup into bowls and top with the sauteed morel mushrooms.
Looks can be deceiving.