Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichoke) 101:
Sunchokes are a knobby, awkward looking tuber that won’t catch your eye at the grocery store…but don’t judge a tuber by its looks. I tasted my first choke in a soup off the menu from King Louie’s, a now closed St. Louis restaurant. I fell in love with their velvety-rich soup that tasted like a buttery artichoke.
The sunchoke, also called “Jerusalem artichoke” is actually not related to the artichoke at all but is the root of a native North American plant in the sunflower family. It got its name for its artichoke-like flavors. In addition to its two names, some have nick-named it as the “fartichoke” due to its high fiber content from a carbohydrate called “inulin.” For some, inulin causes gas and bloating when eaten in excess. So go slow when introducing this tuber into your diet as some of us are more inulin sensitive than others!
Nutritionally speaking, sunchokes are a great source of iron, potassium and thiamin. Inulin, the primary carbohydrate in sunchokes, negligibly affects blood sugar and is touted as a diabetic-friendly carb.
Sunchokes can be eaten raw, roasted, or sautéed and make a great “chip” or substitute for potatoes, rutabagas or turnips. When choosing sunchokes, select chokes that are firm to the touch with no black spots or blemishes. A great tip is to clean sunchokes with a toothbrush. This smaller scrubber makes it easier to clean its knobby twists and turns.
Roasted Sunchoke, Celeriac & Butternut Squash Soup
- 2 cups Sunchokes, scrubbed, peeled and cubed (1”)
- 2 small celeriac roots, peeled and cubed (1”)
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed (1”)
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup apple cider (or white wine)
- 4 (or more) cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 T. maple syrup
- ¼ cup half and half
- 2-3 T. olive oil
- 1.5 t. salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place cubed sunchokes, celeriac root, and butternut squash on a roasting pan. Toss in 1 T. olive oil and sprinkle with ~1 tsp. salt. Roast for 30 minutes giving vegetables a toss halfway through cooking time (15 minutes). When done, vegetables should be easily pricked through with a fork.
While vegetables roast, in a large sauté pan, sauté garlic and onions over medium heat until translucent with some brown pieces. Add ½ cup apple cider (or wine) to deglaze the pan.
Add roasted vegetables and vegetable broth to sauté pan and simmer for 15 more minutes.
Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and puree with 1 T. maple syrup and half and half and 1/2 tsp. salt to taste.
Serve and enjoy!