True to its form, the Canadian weather – that unpredictable beast – has kept us guessing once again. Which season will show up today: Winter or Spring? While it is technically springtime in the northern hemisphere, on some days it feels like the Arctic air mass just won’t leave us alone.
So, one chilly Spring afternoon, I found myself hunched over a bag of sunchokes and a pot of simmering vegetable stock, ready to make something hot and yummy for the family. This is the season of coughs and colds and all manners of infections, therefore a piping cauldron of soup didn’t seem like a terrible idea at all!
March and April is the end of sunchoke (also referred to as Jerusalem artichoke) season in Canada. In fact a tuber, sunchokes are not related to artichokes at all, but rather to sunflowers (helianthus), though they physically resemble ginger root and taste like potatoes. According to eattheseasons.com, “sunchokes are very rich in inulin, a carbohydrate linked with good intestinal health due to its probiotic (bacteria promoting) properties. These health benefits come at a price; the food can have a potent ‘wind-producing’ effect. Sunchokes also contain vitamin C, phosphorus and potassium and are a very good source of iron.”
Not worrying about the said ‘wind-producing’ effect, we went ahead with this luscious, velvety bisque.
And you know what else? If in case you do not finish your soup (or if the kids don’t like it), you can add the sunchoke purée to a cream sauce for pasta, just like we did… You get to sneak in some undercover veggies into your kids’ or your man’s pasta! Believe it or not, there’s sunchoke purée in that dish below. Awesomeness!
- 2 pounds sunchokes
- juice of ½ lemon
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 shallots, diced
- ¾ cup white wine
- 3⅓ cups vegetable or chicken broth
- ⅔ cup cream
- 1 parsnip, thinly sliced
- 1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- chili oil (optional)
- Peel the sunchokes, cut in equal slices, and add the lemon juice to prevent discolouration.
- Heat half the oil in a pan over medium low heat and add the shallots, cooking until soft.
- Add the sunchoke, fry briefly, and add the white wine.
- Reduce slightly , then add the broth.
- Allow to simmer on low heat until sunchoke is soft and cooked.
- Purée the soup in a processor or hand blender.
- Add the cream and stir well.
- Peel the parsnip and cut into thin slices.
- Heat the butter and reserved olive oil in a skillet and pan fry the parsnip and mushrooms until the edges turn golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour soup into bowls and top with the parsnips and mushrooms.
- Dot with chili oil (optional).