Two Soups: Soup Number One Jerusalam Arichokes

International Permaculture Day visitors from around the globe enjoyed a couple of sensational seasonal food on the Sunday at the community gardens. As promised,  For those who asked about recipes and those of you who didn’t quite brave the weather on Sunday, you can still join in and get a little seasonal action, celebrating food culture in the kitchen at home with these wonderful warming winter soups. Here is the first of Sunday’s two soups, featuring very easy to grow local ingredient jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus turberosus). These often overlooked as standby and survival crop, in the right hands, in this case Sue’s, create dishes to look forward to.
jerusalem artichoke
If you’re not already growing Jerusalem artichokes at home, you can pick some up from the community gardens in the next couple of weeks, or at the Slow Food stall at Leura Harvest Festival this weekend.

Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke and Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

8 decent size Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed

1 medium onion, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, crushed/finely chopped

2 cups mushrooms, roughly chopped

1/2 cup potato, roughly chopped to 2 cm pieces

2 Tablespoons dried porchini mushrooms

1l vegetable stock (if using powdered stock make it a mild one)

About a cup of oil and a tablespoon of butter (or oil)

small handful of parsley

Method

Preheat oven to 200 C

As soon as you know you’re making this soup, cover dried porchini in a glass measuring jug with a litre of hot water and leave to stand. The longer you leave it the stronger the porchini flavour will be imparted to the liquid. The initial recipe I used says soak them 24 hours but if you do this step first, this will be fine to use by the time you need to add the mushroomy goodness.

Next chop jerusalem artichokes and potatoes into chunky slices, transfer to a baking tray, cover with oil & sea salt making sure all surfaces are well covered. Roughly chop mushrooms and put in a separate tray or dish, again cover well with oil.  Bake for 30-40 minutes.

When you’re bored of the artichokes and mushrooms being in the oven, (or just after the allotted time above), leave them in the oven til you’re ready for them. Take mushrooms out after 20 minutes. with artichokes, the longer they’re in there the more roasted flavour goodness you’ll get.

On the stove in a nice heavy pan or roasting pot, in a generous dollop of butter or oil, fry chopped onions and garlic until translucent, then add porchini + their water along with 1/2 additional stock. Cook for at least 20, preferably 30 minutes before blending with a stick blender or in small batches in blender with jug. If after blending you think the consistency is too thick at this point, add additional stock until you like the consistency. Season additionally to taste. I find with the salt used for roasting the artichokes that I don’t need any more at this point, so make sure you try it before adding any more.

Preheat bowls to serve with warm water. Add a swirl of cream, chop parsley and sprinkle over the top and serve immediately. Makes enough for 4-6 people depending on how hungry/gluttonous they are.

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