So I was at the supermarket (the organic supermarket, obviously!) and I saw these small brownish root-like things in a plastic box in the fridge section of the veggies… obviously I bypassed them because not only were they somewhat ugly, but I had no idea what they were. Then, my friend who was grocery shopping with me, pushed her cart up to mine and alas…she had a bag full of the funny looking brown roots. I asked her what they were and in Italian she exclaimed, “how can you not know topinambur!??!?!” The name itself intrigued me so I went right ahead and bought myself a pound of topinambur. Once I got home and after a quick Google session, I learned that “topinambur” is the French name (adopted by Italians) of what we Americans call the “Jerusalem Artichoke.” It can also be referred to as a sunroot, sunchoke or earth apple.
Once I knew what it was, I had to figure out what to do with it.
I checked out a few recipes and decided to ease my way into the topinambur world with a simple soup. I worked out the best combinations combined with what I had on hand and whipped up a Jerusalem artichoke, potato and leek soup with crispy kale flakes. I paired it with homemade gluten-free vegan bread (recipe to come) and it was the perfect cold-weather meal. I ate the leftovers for lunch the next day. In case you are wondering, topinambur tastes like an earthier artichoke. Now that I have gotten my feet wet, next time I’ll attempt something a little more adventurous than a soup. But for now, I’m quite satisfied.
Jerusalem artichoke, potato and leek soup (with crispy kale flakes)
- 1 lb Jerusalem artichokes (topinambur) (cleaned, peeled and chopped)
- 1 lb potatoes (cleaned, peeled and chopped)
- 4 cups water
- 1 tbsp herbamare (if you don’t have herbamare use veggie broth instead of water)
- 2 tbsp vegan butter/margarine
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 medium leeks (cleaned and chopped)
- 1 large onio (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 ½ tbsp. gluten free flour blend
- 1 stalk kale (I used dinosaur)
- salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- Place the Jerusalem artichokes, potatoes, water and herbamare in a large saucepan and boil for 15 minutes covered.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Once heated and mixed together, add the onions, garlic and leek.
- Saute for about 6 minutes or until soft and fragrant.
- Reduce to low heat and stir in the flour. Continue to stir for another minute.
- Add the leek/onion mixture to the saucepan with the artichokes and potatoes.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and cook for about 30 minutes.
- While the soup is cooking, take the kale leaves off of the stalk and cut into small pieces.
- Place the pieces of kale on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at about 180C (350F) for 5-7 minutes or until crispy.
- Once the soup is cooked and the artichokes and potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, blend with an immersion blender (if you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer to a normal blender)
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve in bowls and pour some fresh extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle the kale chips on top.