There is something aromatic about jerusalem artichokes, and I’m not really referring to their tendency to make you fart! Do you know what I mean? When you eat them their flavour is very much in your nose. it makes me think of galangal and lemongrass, and other fragrant South East Asian ingredients. This soup marries artichokes with ginger, chilli, lime leaf, turmeric and coconut, for something that is comforting yet still a little bit exotic.
It’s a bit beyond the end of the jerusalem artichoke season, but I noticed they still had them in my local greengrocer, and as I doubt that anyone is stockpiling them I thought it might be a useful recipe to post. If you can’t get jerusalem artichokes I think this would also work wonderfully with parsnips, though I have to admit I haven’t actually tried it. You can also be pretty flexible with the aromatic ingredients – if you don’t have all of them just leave some out or use dried (see suggestions below), you could also add in others (like lemongrass) but I just used what I had in the pantry. The coconut milk adds a creamy richness so probably better to not skimp on it.
I find that no matter how well I scrub jerusalem artichokes if I’m using them in a blitzed up soup like this then it will still end up a bit gritty, so you have a couple of options. If your jerusalem artichokes are quite big and not too knobbly then you can peel them or if they are small like the ones I used them don’t peel them (though do still wash them well, obviously) and then once you have made the soup pass it though a sieve to remove any gritty bits.
2 tablespoons oil (I used sunflower)
1 small onion (about 150g)
1 potato (about 150g)
450g jerusalem artichokes (or replace with parsnips)
1 teaspoon salt, plus extra to adjust seasoning at the end
1/4 teaspoon white pepper or use freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 red chilli
50g fresh ginger, peeled, or use 1 teaspoon ground ginger
10g fresh turmeric, peeled, or use 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
6 lime leaves (I use frozen from the Asian Supermarket)
2 teaspoons coriander stalks, finely chopped
1 tin coconut milk (400ml)
500ml boiling water
Peel the onion and finely chop. Cut the potato and jerusalem artichokes into 1 cm cubes – no need to peel them if you are planning to sieve the soup later.
Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or casserole dish over a medium heat. Once hot add the vegetables and the salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium low and allow to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften.
Meanwhile finely chop the garlic, chilli, ginger, turmeric and coriander stalks. Remove the mid rib of the lime leaves and finely slice these too. After the onion and artichoke mix has been cooking for 10 minutes add in all these aromatics – garlic, chilli, ginger, turmeric, lime leaves, coriander stalks – and stir well. Cook for another two minutes.
Add in the coconut milk and boiling water. Bring to the boil over a high heat. Turn the heat down to medium low and then put on the lid and allow to simmer for 10 -15 minutes or until the potato and artichoke are soft.
Whizz up the soup until smooth with a hand blender or in a free-standing blender (if the soup is hot do not overfill the blender, it will go everywhere) and then pass through a sieve to remove any gritty bits. I used a spatula to help push it though the sieve.
Serve hot with jasmine rice or bread and a sprinkling of fresh coriander (or edible flowers) to garnish.