Say it. I know you’re thinking it; Jerusalem artichokes are gorgeous. Knobbly little root vegetables, coloured vibrantly in purple and punctuated with rings of almost pure white, they look like psychedelic ginger. Inside their fancy jackets, however, these “artichokes” are as plain as potatoes in all but one department; taste. Give this Jerusalem Artichoke and Spinach Soup a try and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
One of the reasons I love visiting my local grocers, as opposed to the giant ASDA around the corner, is that you never know what you might find as you stroll through the door. Imagine my delight as I glanced to my left – having just passed a rather tempting squash – to find a box of colourful root vegetables labelled ‘Jerusalem Artichokes – Devon’.
The interesting thing about Jerusalem artichokes? They are entirely erroneous. They have nothing to do with Jerusalem and they certainly aren’t artichokes. An artichoke is a type of thistle; this globe artichoke, for instance. Still, if you can get past the lies then its a tuber worth eating.
In season between October and March, Jerusalem artichokes are one of the more interesting ingredients available over winter. Not exactly widespread, if you do stumble across some – perhaps in a box labelled ‘Devon’ – be sure to pick them up. Regret will not be felt at any level.
Don’t fancy soup? Generally speaking, these “artichokes” can be treated as you would a potato; boil ‘em, mash ‘em… stick ‘em in a stew. Oh, and roast them. They can certainly be roasted.
If you can’t get your hands on Jerusalem artichokes fear not. Soup is something comprehensively covered here on frugalfeeding; just look at my recipes for Broccoli and Pea Soup, Thai Celeriac Soup and Roast Potato and Garlic Soup…
Jerusalem Artichoke and Spinach Soup
- 500g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
- 100g potato, similarly prepared
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 litre chicken stock
- ½ tsp salt
- a little black pepper
- 50g fresh spinach
- 300ml creme fraiche
- a little shredded parsley
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and saute the onion, followed by the artichokes and potato in a large saucepan.
- Add the garlic to the mix, before placing in the bay leaves. Pour over the stock, season and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Cook until the artichokes and potatoes have softened. Remove the bay leaves and puree with a stick blender.
- Add the spinach and allow to wilt before passing it through the best small blender again, this time for a shorter period, leaving larger pieces of spinach.
- Remove the pan from the heat for a few minutes; this allows you to add the creme fraiche without it splitting.
- Bring back up to temperature gently, but do not allow to boil. Serve with a little shredded parsley.
Cost: Though more expensive than potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes can certainly be counted as an inexpensive ingredient. The ones used here came in at around £1.40 per lb, which isn’t too bad.
All ingredients considered, this soup comes in at an economical £3.20; less than £1 per portion. Very filling it is too.