A case of mistaken identity
Jerusalem artichoke and walnut soup began a few years ago with a case of mistaken identity. At the Cambridge Market where I buy my produce every week, I picked up what I thought was a piece of ginger. James, my fruit and veg man at Farmer and Son told me that it was Jerusalem artichoke. Having shied away from cooking them before, I decided to buy a bag. They lingered in the bottom of my fridge for a little while before I pulled them out, not sure how I was going to cook them.
What are Jerusalem Artichokes?
Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus), are a species of sunflower, native to central North America. They’re also known as earth apples, sunroots or sun chokes.
Cook them as you would potatoes, by boiling or roasting them. I like them grated or shaved raw into a salad. I’ve also pickled them. Jerusalem artichokes are a good source of fibre, too. I’m a big fan of soups, so I decided to cook them this way.
I’ve read many soup recipes which start with sautéing an onion in oil or butter, adding garlic or spices, then throwing in the main ingredients with stock. They’re often thickened with potatoes or cream. I like to use nuts instead. Nuts are a good plant-based source of protein and fat, and they certainly give a creamy depth to vegetable soups. I used homemade chicken stock for this soup. but I have made it with vegetable stock as well.
Why should you strain the Jerusalem artichoke and walnut soup?
I like to strain this soup through a sieve or a chinois (a cone-shaped metal strainer). Thomas Keller of the acclaimed French Laundry restaurant in the Napa Valley, USA writes in his cookbook that he always strains his soups at least once in order to concentrate the flavour of the hero ingredient. While you don’t have to do this, straining the Jerusalem and artichoke soup gives it a silky smooth texture. I also think it elevates it from an everyday soup to something rather elegant.
The soup is perfect to serve in little cups as an amuse bouche. Top it with a little freshly-grated nutmeg and chopped walnuts.
Tell me what you think of the Jerusalem artichoke and walnut soup. I’d also love to know how you cook Jerusalem artichokes. If you like making soups with unusual flavours, you might like to try my roasted beetroot and cinnamon soup: Roasted Beetroot and Cinnamon Soup
PS: If you’ve tried this Jerusalem Artichoke and Walnut Soup or any other recipe on At Amanda’s Table, please let me know how it turned out in the comments below! If you’d like to read more, please subscribe to my monthly newsletter for stories, recipes and tips for simple, nutritious meals.
Jerusalem Artichoke and Walnut Soup
- 1 brown onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 parsnip, washed and chopped
- 500 g Jerusalem artichokes, washed and chopped no need to peel them
- 1 L chicken or vegetable stock I used chicken stock
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 nutmeg, grated
- salt and pepper
- Warm olive oil in a medium saucepan. Saute onion and garlic with a pinch of salt for 5 to 10 minutes until soft.
- Stir in grated nutmeg, parsnip and Jerusalem artichokes and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add walnuts and stock and bring to the boil.
- Turn heat down to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the arichokes are soft.
- Remove from heat, allow to cool for 10 minutes, then puree with a handheld blender.
- Strain the pureed soup through a sieve or a chinois.
- Season to taste. Garnish with a little freshly grated nutmeg and a few chopped walnuts to serve.