Jerusalem Artichokes are the most unpromising looking vegetable. When I dig them up on the allotment they look like little more than clods of earth and take some serious cleaning before they are identifiable. Even then, they still look uninspiring, like a knobbly, dirty potato. And not only that, they are difficult to peel and once peeled discolour quickly unless submerged in cold water with a squeeze of lemon. But they are worth the effort as this simple, yet delicious soup confirms.
Jerusalem Artichoke Soup
Don’t add the cream for a vegan variation. Delicious with a swirl of white truffle oil, if you are feeling indulgent.
Extra virgin olive oil
2 onion, chopped or 2 leeks, sliced and washed
1kg Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed and cut into 1-2cm chunks
1200ml chicken, vegetable stock or water
Bunch of thyme
200ml single cream (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions or leeks and fry gently for 10 minutes. Tie your thyme into a bundle with an elastic band or a piece of string. Add it to the onions. Add the artichokes and carry on cooking slowly for about 20 minutes until the Jerusalem artichokes begin to break down and the flavours intensify. Do not brown. Add stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the artichokes are tender. They are a bit impenetrable, but you should be able to break them up with a wooden spoon. Remove the thyme bundle and squeeze out as much juice from it as you can. Add the cream and blend the mixture until smooth, and then season to taste with plenty of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reheat gentle and serve with a swirl of extra virgin olive oil or truffle oil.